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Histadrut, Israel’s largest labor union, calls for immediate general strike to stop judicial reform legislation

Research universities, Israel Medical Association announce joining the strike

Labor Union head Arnon Bar-David (Photo: Segev Weisberg/Wikimedia Commons)

Histadrut, Israel’s largest labor union, called for an immediate general strike this morning, with Histadrut Chairman Arnon Bar-David calling to stop the ongoing judicial reforms or risk seeing the union shut down the economy. 

“This is an historic strike in which workers and employers will together halt the judicial overhaul,” Bar-David said at a press conference of Monday morning.

Histadrut, also known as Israel's General Federation of Labour, has been in existence since 1920. While it has declined somewhat since its early years, it is still considered a powerful and recognized institution in the political and economic landscape of Israel. Histadrut last called for a general strike in 2012. 

In his speech, Bar-David said the organization could not stay silent “in the face of the polarization and division that is tearing the country apart from within.” 

“I didn’t want us to get to this confrontation. I tried as much as I could to avoid a strike and a shutdown,” Bar-David said, calling Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s dismissal “a red light” for him. 

“The Minister of Defense stands and warns of security dangers, it is his duty as a leading and responsible Minister of Defense of the IDF. What are we, banana republic? what is this thing?” Bar-David said. “Last night all the red lines were crossed and a very big red line was crossed here, and I call on the prime minister to reconsider the dismissal of the defense minister and return him to his position.” 

Bar-David said he has “good relations” with Netanyahu, whom he noted is prime minister of all sides of Israeli society.

“You have been elected prime minister of all the right-wingers, of the left-wingers, of all of the religious, of the secular,” he said. 

Last night, Histradut leaders met with senior economic officials in Tel Aviv. While they reportedly expressed shock over what is happening in the country, however, the leaders reportedly agreed that a general strike is not the solution. 

The heads of the research universities throughout Israel stopped academic studies on Monday morning “against the backdrop of the continuation of the legislative process that undermines the foundations of Israeli democracy and endangers its continued existence,” according to a statement released to university stakeholders.

“We call on the prime minister and the members of the coalition to stop the legislation immediately and immediately enter into litigation in order to reach an agreed and broad outline,” the university heads stated.

The Israel Medical Association announced it would also join the protests, declaring a “full strike in the health system until the announcement of a clear and serious course of dialogue, on the way to broad agreements.” 

The association did not call for an end to the legislation, but for dialogue and substantive agreements. 

“We will not be satisfied with stopping the legislation without more substantive content that will ensure the protection of patients’ rights,” the Medical Association said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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