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      Israeli Cities on Strike against Government

      Israel’s major cities and more than 250 towns and local councils are on strike. Schools open. No garbage collection; no parking tickets.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 1/16/2012, 8:51 AM

      Garbage piles up during strike
      Garbage piles up during strike
      Flash 90

      Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and more than 250 other towns and local councils began an open-ended strike Monday. Schools are open, but there is no garbage collection – and there is free parking because parking meter supervisors are not working.

      Warnings by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the strike would damage the economy did not convince local councils to call it off. “This is not the time to disturb the economy with a general strike,” he told heads of local councils late Sunday night. “It will harm citizens on issues that can be solved in a short amount of time. We all are in the same boat…and it is important that we lead a responsible economy and not throw away any money. If the economy crashes, citizens will pay the price.”

      The local councils argued that the strike is against the government’s “putting its hand in the pockets of citizens.”

      They said they would have called off the strike if the government had accepted their principal demands concerning Value Added Tax (VAT) on the price of water and property taxes.

      Schools and matriculation examinations are not affected by the strike, but there is no organized transportation to pre-nursery schools.

      There is no garbage collection. Parking tickets are not being written, but motorists should not celebrate too soon because unlimited free parking leaves vacant spaces sparse or non-existent.

      Welfare and social services also are on strike, and community center activities have been called off.