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Israeli Foreign Ministry workers go on strike

(JTA) — Employees of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have gone on a major strike protesting low wages and working conditions.

The strike, announced Tuesday, will suspend all services to foreign dignitaries visiting Israel, as well as all services to Israeli dignitaries planning trips or already abroad. In addition, the strike suspends all consular services to Israelis abroad. The only exceptions will be for Israelis whose lives are in danger and for bodies that must be transported back to Israel for burial.

A similar strike that took place last summer was suspended for negotiations with the Finance Ministry. The strike was renewed when negotiations broke down.

“Finance Ministry officials chose to act in a way that is unworthy of public servants, and their behavior reached a low point when after seven months of mediated negotiations they presented us with an offer that says, ‘Continue to give your all, you’ll get absolutely nothing in return,’” said Yair Frommer, the union’s chairman, in a statement, according to the Times of Israel.

Pope Francis and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are set to visit Israel in the coming months, trips that may be postponed if the strike continues.

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