TEL AVIV (Dec. 15)
Israel’s cost of living index rose by 6.5 percent during November, bringing the inflationary increase since the beginning of the year to just over 119 percent, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced today.
If the December increase is similar, the annual inflationary rate will be the highest ever in Israel’s history — over 130 percent. At the beginning of the year Finance Minister Yoram Aridor had promised to reduce inflation to below 100 percent.
As the Bureau was issuing its cost of living index data today representatives of the Treasury and the Histadrut were going into another session of negotiations on salary increases and wage policy, designed to prevent another strike by 400,000 government employes tomorrow.
Both sides admitted that agreement was possible but neither expressed much optimism that the crippling work stoppage could be prevented. The atmosphere in the Histadrut building where the talks were taking place was described as “near crisis.” A similar number of civil servants–400,000 or a third of the total work force — observed a two-day strike last week. If the workers strike tomorrow, the stoppage may last longer.