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Knesset to take summer break despite protests

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli lawmakers voted to take their summer recess despite a wave of protests over social and economic issues.

The Knesset presidium on Monday voted down a proposal to delay the Aug. 7 start of the parliament’s summer recess, a proposal that had garnered support from lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition coalitions. Lawmakers from the Shas and Kadima parties were the only representatives to vote in favor of the proposal submitted by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, the head of Shas.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni had thrown her support behind the proposal.

"The Knesset needs to keep working," said Livni, the chair of Kadima, said Sunday. "Fixing what is happening on the streets has to be done through the Knesset."

Israeli-Arab lawmakers objected to canceling the recess since this year it falls at the same time as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Knesset is scheduled to return at the end of October, but Speaker Reuven Rivlin said he would convene the parliament in the interim if the government is ready to take steps to alleviate the housing and economic crises.

Also Monday, municipal employees throughout Israel went on a one-day strike in support of social justice.

The Union of Local Authorities in Israel authorized the municipal workers to close their offices in support of the Facebook-organized general strike. There was also no garbage collection or street cleaning. The local authority in Jerusalem declined to join the strike. 

More than 23,500 Israeli Facebook users indicated that they would participate in the strike. 
 

 

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