The Israel Teachers Union (ITU) on Wednesday upped the strike, closing schools around Israel.
The affected schools include preschools and elementary schools, as well as ulpans. The school year for middle and high schools has ended; special education institutions remain unaffected.
ITU Secretary-General Yaffa Ben David explained, "We have been holding negotiations with Finance Ministry representatives for six months, but we have not yet received even one concrete offer. I call again on the Finance Minister, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), to come personally and sit with the Education Minister, the Ministry’s Director General, the one in charge of the salaries, and with me – as soon as tomorrow."
The ITU has also said that their representatives are willing to sit until white smoke billows from their heads, and hope that on Wednesday, the Finance Minister will instruct his Ministry’s representatives to come with salary tables and concrete proposals to add to the salaries of all teachers employed by the State.
The ITU has been in negotiations with the Finance Ministry and Education Ministry since January.
Ben David added, "This is a time of national emergency and a real danger to the future of the State of Israel. Only a wage agreement will prevent the desertion which will lead to a collapse of the education system."
The Finance Ministry responded, "We will continue to insist on an agreement which will improve teachers' salaries and bring relief to parents and to the economy. The Teachers Union's behavior, at the expense of the parents and students at this time, is not clear to us at all."