Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor LibermanYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) on Saturday spoke at an event, promising that he would not reach an agreement with the Israel Teachers Union (ITU) if it does not seem to him to be a good agreement.

Speaking at a Shabbatarbut (political and cultural forums that take place on the Sabbath) event in Be'er Sheva, Liberman said, "It is unthinkable that they come to me, to the negotiations room, and the first thing they ask is to remove two issues from the table."

He emphasized that from his perspective, an agreement will not be signed until understandings are reached on the issues critical for him: the regulation of teachers' vacations, and the issue of excellence and bonuses for talent in the education system.

"I believe that we will reach agreements and we will do everything in order to reach agreements," Liberman stressed. "I admire [ITU Secretary-General] Yaffa Ben David and [Teachers Union chairman] Ron Erez, but it is unnecessary to attack Finance Ministry representatives. The education budget is larger than that of defense, it is the largest ever. In the educational system the most important factor is the quality of the teacher - if you have a good teacher you know you will get good students who will get the highest grades. The investment in the teacher will bring good people from hi-tech to the field, and that won't happen with group agreements."

Meanwhile, schools across Israel will begin their school day on Sunday at 10:00 instead of the usual 8:00, as part of the series of strikes by teachers to bring about an improvement in their working conditions. The strikes will affect preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and ulpans around Israel. It will not affect special education institutions.