Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman
Finance Minister Avigdor LibermanIsrael Democracy Institute

On Sunday, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announced that his ministry had submitted a request to the State Prosecution Service, asking it to issue a restraining order against the Histadrut Teachers' Union, which has called for a strike commencing on September 1, the first day of the new academic year, this Thursday.

"My conduct has been motivated by my sense of responsibility and I hope that the Education Ministry will join me in my request and ensure that the new academic year starts on time," Liberman said at a press conference on Sunday. "Meanwhile, we are continuing to negotiate and we will do so until the first bell for classes rings. So far we have narrowed the gaps between the two sides, though they remain significant."

Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara is expected to accede to Liberman's request, even if the Education Ministry refuses to join him in making the demand, in order to avoid the possibly serious ramifications of not having the school year start on time not only for students but also for the entire economy.

Liberman added that he will be meeting Prime Minister Lapid later on Sunday to update him on the latest developments.

Speaking on Kan Reshet Bet earlier in the day, Teachers' Union head Yaffa Ben David said that the Finance Ministry was taking steps against her personally. "I see this as a form of terrorism against myself, my husband, and my family," Ben David said. At Sunday's press conference, Liberman was asked to comment on Ben David's words and responded that he deals with budgets, not terror tactics.

Furthermore, Liberman claimed that the Finance Ministry has already reached agreements with the Teachers' Union on all details and that he does not understand why they want to go on strike.

"I met with Ran Erez and asked him what his issue was," Liberman said. "He mentioned one clause. I said that he has it [agreed upon] already. He asked me to give him another day to think about it, and the next day he came back with a document that included 29 clauses. I don't know what this is all about, but to me it seems that it's likely all about gaining attention and prestige."

Responding to the news that Liberman has decided to appeal to the Attorney-General, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said, "Someone who asks for a restraining order when the two sides are already negotiating, in order to ensure that the academic year starts on time, is just proving that he isn't really interested in reaching an agreement, nor is he interested in the future of the education system or our children themselves."