TEL AVIV (Aug. 2)
Dismissal orders were issued today against five police officers and five more are awaiting dismissal for their part in Monday night’s mass demonstrations protesting the Knesset’s decision to bar the establishment of a police union. Despite the punitive action, a threatened general strike by police today failed to materialize.
The strike threat had come from police union activist Sgt. David Ofek who has been on a hunger strike for the past few days. He collapsed last night and was hospitalized. Earlier, Interior Minister Yosef Burg, who has jurisdiction over the police, and Police Superintendent Haim Tavori mode it clear that disciplinary action would be taken against the organizers of the demonstration but not against the thousands of police personnel who participated in it.
The police themselves were divided in their reaction to the Knesset ban on unionization. While a hardcore of activists said they will continue to fight it, others spoke of negotiating with Burg for alternative ways to protect the rights of police officers. These include the creation of a public council to serve as watchdog over police conditions and the appointment of an ombudsman within the interior Ministry to whom police and their families could bring their grievances.