Trains return to service
Trains return to service Israel news photo: Flash 90

Egged and Dan bus lines are providing only limited service as of Sunday morning, the fifth day of the general strike by the Histadrut national labor union and the first day the bus companies have participated.

In an apparent coordinated effort not to totally paralyze travelers, train service resumed Sunday morning, and Ben Gurion Airport is operating as usual. Thousands of foreign workers, who usually use buses to return to work after the Jewish Sabbath, jammed bus and train stations, making space even more scarce on Sunday, the busiest day of the week as soldiers return to duty after weekend leave.

Egged issued a topsy-turvy announcement and declared it is reducing service on highly-traveled routes while increasing service on routes where there is less demand.

The National Labor Court is meeting Sunday morning to decide whether to issue a back-to-work order or allow the strike to continue, perhaps only partially.

The main issue is the labor union's demand that the government hire hundreds of thousands of contracted workers, who do not receive the benefits available to those working directly for the government. The Finance Ministry has agreed to hire some of the workers but also insists that the Histadrut promise not to stage another strike over the issue for four years.

Most of the employees whose status is being argued work as security guards or cleaners, and the proposed agreement does not include professionals who also are outsourced.