Peres Slams 'Price Tag', Foreign Ministry Strike

President issues strong condemnations over recent events in speech at swearing-in ceremony.

Tova Dvorin ,

Peres, at the ceremony
Peres, at the ceremony
מארק ניימן / לע"מ

President Shimon Peres spoke at an official ceremony for the swearing-in of 22 judges on Tuesday, and addressed two important issues: the "price tag" attacks on cars in Jerusalem, and the Foreign Ministry Employees' Union strike.

Peres began his remarks by strongly condemning the most recent alleged 'price-tag' attack and called upon the enforcement agencies in Israel to act against the perpetrators with the full force of the law.

"We are witness to acts of the desecration of holy places, damage to property and the uprooting of trees - all carried out with nationalist motives," Peres stated. "These acts are known as 'price-tag' attacks, a term taken from the commercial world."

"Preserving our moral values and acts against the rule of law are not a commercial issue," he continued. "The security services must deal with these ugly acts with the full force of the law."

The tires of 34 cars in the Arab-majority neighborhood Beit Hanina in north-eastern Jerusalem were found punctured Monday morning, drawing condemnations against so-called "price tag" attacks for allegedly hindering the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). 

Meanwhile, an Arutz Sheva report in January revealed that in at least some of the cases, anti-Arab "price tags" were being systematically staged by Arab activists.

Foreign Ministry strike 'of great concern'

President Peres also addressed the strike at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding his criticism to a mounting wave of dissent against the strike and its effect on Israeli diplomacy.  

"I would like to use this important opportunity to state that the strike by the employees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a cause of great concern to the country, to its citizens, to our foreign relations and to the employees themselves who done crucial work," he said. "For the past seven months there is a mediation process between the workers and the finance ministry led by Judge Adler (retired)."

"I know Judge Adler and he is a man of integrity," he continued. "I call upon the sides to put faith in Judge Adler and empower him to find an urgent solution."

This is the latest development in the Foreign Ministry strike, which was announced on Sunday. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) has said multiple times that he does not support the strike in his office, and has deemed the fully-fledged protest "irresponsible."

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over the effects the strike could have on Israeli diplomacy, as several important diplomatic visits have already been cancelled or postponed. 

Judge Adler himself has called on both sides to attend an urgent mediation session on Tuesday afternoon, noting that there is great potential for damage to Israel's diplomatic reputation.