Eini's Fingerprints

Tax Authority workers are refusing to raid businesses in search of tax dodgers. Employment Service workers held a one-day strike last week and threaten to do so again if their demand to place the welfare-to-work "Wisconsin Plan" under their authority is not met. National Insurance employees - another group whose salaries are among the highest in the public sector - are launching sanctions and denying service to thousands who are eligible for state allowances.

It's no coincidence that the escalation of labor disputes coincides with the changing of the guard in Jerusalem. The guiding hand behind the specific incidents is that of Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini. For the past three years he has kept things relatively quiet on the labor relations front, but now he wants to send a message to prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu: Don't ignore the Histadrut.

Eini and his ally, Manufacturer Association of Israel president Shraga Brosh, are working overtime to put their respective organizations into the heart of the nation's decision-making center. The outgoing finance minister, Roni Bar-On, refused to let them into that center. Eini and Brosh are now looking to his replacement and planning another try. Eini's muscle-flexing is aimed at supporting that goal.