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Strike Called Off - For Now

The Histadrut has agreed, in accordance with a request by President Moshe Katzav, to call off the two-day-old nationwide strike - at least until after Independence Day this coming Wednesday.

First Publish: 5/2/2003, 10:53 AM

Amir Peretz, Chairman of Israel's Labor Union, the Histadrut, announced late last night that in accordance with a request by President Moshe Katzav, the two-day-old nationwide strike will be put on hold until after Israel's Independence Day this coming Wednesday.

Peretz made the announcement after meeting for negotiations with Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. Peretz's decision was met with jeers and shouts from many Histadrut committee leaders were who were unhappy with the decision.

President Katzav had invited Peretz and Netanyahu to meet to try to bring the general strike to an end. The damage to the economy due to the strike is reported to have reached 1.2 billion shekels. Intense negotiations to try to iron out the differences and bring the strike to a complete end began at noon today.

Although the strike is over, partial sanctions are still in effect. Schools re-opened this morning, trains, post offices and banks resumed operation this morning at 6:00 AM, and Ben-Gurion International Airport resumed flights today until the onset of the Sabbath this evening. Many government offices and municipal services will provide service on a limited basis. Garbage will be collected as usual, but parking tickets will still not be given out.

El Al Israel Airlines is trying to fly as many stranded passengers as possible, in both directions. An initiative by Minister Avraham Poraz of Shinui to allow flights on the Sabbath was foiled; National Religious Party Minister Zevulun Orlev said that the Shinui Party still has not internalized the fact that the religious status quo must not be tampered with.