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News Media Threaten Strike

Israeli newspapers, radio and television face a 48-hour shutdown in two weeks if the National Union of Israeli Journalists implement their strike decision taken at a union meeting Sunday. The strike was voted to protest sections of the new tax reform bill now before the Knesset which would include journalists’ car and telephone expense accounts as taxable income. The journalists claim that no other country in the world imposes such taxes.

The union has notified the Labor Relations Office of the impending strike as required by law. The law also provides for a 14-day interim between notification and an actual strike. The journalists claim that the tax on their expenses would harm the day-to-day news gathering process and thereby interfere with freedom of the press. The strike decision was criticized by the publishers who otherwise support the journalists’ demands.