As you might already know, it was trumpeted on radio and TV that the Employment Offices were open to the public this past week; however, my arrival there told a different story.

I have been unemployed for sometime, and, being over 50-years-old with a problematic back and high blood pressure, I have been assigned to report to Lishkat HaAvodah (the Employment Office) once a month. Two Thursdays ago was my day for the month of November.

And so, I got there at the usual time that I always arrive, 7:45am, so as to receive an early number, in order to get in and get out of the local branch as fast as possible. At that time, I found the gate unbolted. The gate usually is under lock and key until "promptly" 8:30am, according to the office clocks. And it doesn't matter what the weather ? rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow ? the unemployed are forced to stand out in whatever elements until the clerks decide that it is 8:30am and permit us to enter.

That Thursday, I walked in to the office and was greeted by one of the "counselors", who informed me that they were still on strike and that I should see TV and listen to radio as to whether they'd be receiving the public on the next Thursday (last week). Now, understand that I don't own a TV, my radio doesn't work well and broadcast reception in "my neck of the woods" is the pits. I rely heavily on my senses, intuition and the Internet. But news on the major English language news websites about the public sector strikes or sanctions is sparse or nil, particularly regarding coverage of strikes or sanctions by NII (Bituach Leumi) or the Employment Offices.

Well, last Thursday I repeated the same procedure. I arrived from my apartment, way on the other side of town, to the Lishkat HaAvodah, local branch, at the same time as always. Three other unemployed individuals had arrived ahead of me; I was the fourth in line. I asked them if the strike was over and, if so, how they found out. They all told me that they heard the news on radio or TV. I called out to the guard at entrance to the offices and asked if the Employment Office was on strike today. He responded that they would be open and receiving the public.

However, a few minutes later the guard emerged from the offices whistling a different tune. We were told that we were not going to be received, that they were again on strike. Just then, the counselor who handles us "once-a-month" people echoed what the guard said. They were still on strike. She also used a different word ? sanctions. Sanctions are what the public sector employees use in order to get paid for being there and not completing all aspects of their jobs ? i.e., not receiving the public and not connecting to the computer.

I told the guard that I smell something funny going on. If radio and TV said that they were to be receiving the public today, why weren't they? I requested a note dated and signed stating that the Employment Office was on strike today. The guard then took a piece of paper, wrote the word "sh'vita" (strike) on it, dated and signed it. A few minutes later, one of the counselors also signed, or rather initialed the same piece of paper.

Still feeling uneasy, I and some others waited there until after 8:30am on the off chance that Comrade Peretz and his friends might change their minds.

In short, these "high and mighty" so-called "public servants" humiliate, abuse, belittle, demean, mistreat and treat like criminals, at every turn, the captive public, their Jewish brethren, who they are supposed to serve. They all deserve everything that Bibi Netanyahu has in store for them and more. I find it very interesting that the "high and mighty" Histadrut, the organization that governs the daily lives, work places and work-ethic of these abusive "public servants", has been taken to court by the Treasury-appointed managers, who accuse Histadrut of stealing from pension funds (

It is this very Histadrut who has the ultimate finger on the gate of when, where, how and under what conditions government entitlements, supplements, unemployment benefits, etc. will be dispersed. These "public servants" have their hands on your tax money and mine. For shame, Amir Peretz, for shame! For shame, Prime Minister Sharon and 120 overpaid, underworked, worthless politcal hacks! And for shame, Haaretz, for swearing by all of the wrongs of this whole gang of r?shayim.