Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Break the Foreign Ministry Strike

The right to strike has limitations.
Published: Friday, March 07, 2014 6:55 AM


There is no slavery in Israel last I heard – people are free to quit their jobs as they wish, and the economic freedom in Start-Up Nation is a vast reality.  If someone doesn’t like his job, he is free to quit.

Along these lines, it is shocking and infuriating to hear about the ongoing labor strike in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  As if Israel doesn’t get enough bad press, now USA Today and others are reporting on Israeli labor issues.  Let these people quit if they are not happy – but if they will not work, then Israel must fire them.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is likely to have to postpone his trip to Israel next week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in California for his trip to create partnerships with Silicon Valley for Israeli technology companies, and his scheduling and arrival were affected. Shameful and awful behavior by the Israeli would-be diplomats.  

Thus far, there has been the freezing of Chinese foreign officials. Foreign Ministry officials said they now will refuse to assist in visits of foreign presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other officials. Amazingly, Isaraeli foreign ministry diplomats are publicizing the fact that they will not cooperate with the Shin Bet or Mossad, nor will they send diplomatic cables. Asinine.  

The 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, said while he was governor of Massachusetts in the face of a Boston police strike in 1919, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, at any time.” And indeed, in reading this – there should be no right to strike by these diplomats who are harming Israel’s image and foreign relations. President Ronald Reagan fired 11,000 air traffic comptrollers who walked off the job, and said “Government cannot close down the assembly line. It has to provide without interruption the protective services which are government’s reason for being.”

Many years ago, the Zionist visionary Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote about strikes in the Jewish land: “..higher and mightier than class interests, the common interest of rebuilding the Jewish State rules supreme. Consequently there should be no talk of class war, a system, the harmful tendency of which, is manifested when one side threatens the other by means of strikes or lockouts. In Palestine, such conflicts must always be settled in one manner only: through obligatory national arbitration.”

And he added: “An unjust and state disintegrating strike must be mercilessly broken as well as any other attempt to damage the reconstruction of the Jewish State.”

Situations like this harm the Jewish State – and disrupt the solidarity and the many needs of our people. 

Jabotinsky stance was anti-socialist. He opposed labor ideology and its fostering of class warfare and strikes which endangered the Zionist enterprise. Instead of strikes which shut down industry, Jabotinsky advocated mandatory arbitration as a method of settling labor disputes. He argued that Judaism did not support socialism, as many argued at the time, but a free market with the necessary checks and balances to protect the poor.

Foreign Ministry staff on strike harm Israeli interests in a major way – and this strike must be brought to an end.