Information Department, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem
SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS
(Government Press Office)
Haaretz comments: "The general strike that began yesterday is thus very easy
to understand despite the fact that it causes some suffering to everyone in
the country, from those who are unable to fly out to those whose garbage will
not be collected. Perhaps this small annoyance, whose cost to the economy will
exceed that of the unpaid salaries, will remind us of all those who have not
received a paycheck for months. In a country in which efforts are made to
persuade people to go out to work instead of receiving welfare, such disregard
for the obligation of all employers, in the private sector and especially in
the public sector, to pay salaries on time, is intolerable... The dispute that
led to the strike is not between the workers and their employers, but rather
between the local authorities and the Finance Ministry. Years of bad
management in certain local governments led to large deficits but also to the
gradual reduction of aid to poorer local authorities - those whose municipal
tax collection rate is low - that left their coffers empty... Responsibility
for ending the strike and the labor dispute lies with the Finance and Interior
ministries, as well as the local council heads. The workers cannot be asked to
show consideration, after years of receiving none from anyone."
The Jerusalem Post writes: "It is intolerable that these [striking unpaid]
workers should bear such a disproportionate price for the failures of their
higher-ups, both in the local councils and in the central government. It is
also intolerable that the entire country can be held economic hostage by
strikes that cut off essential services and spread their punishment far beyond
the offending institutions... In the short term, it is clear that more failing
local governments should be taken over, merged, or forced to accept tighter
oversight. Numerous independent commissions have made such recommendations,
but their useful proposals have been overcome by the political clout of
failing councils, and of mayors who happen to belong to parties in power in
Citizens have a right to demand that government workers be paid, that bloated
bureaucracies be trimmed, and that essential services not be cut off at a
whim. The solutions to such problems are well known, awaiting a leadership
that will push through common sense reforms that serve the public, regardless
of entrenched political interests."
Yediot Aharonot comments on yesterday's general strike and believes that both
sides had good arguments.
Yediot Aharonot, in its second editorial, wonders why Israel is not on US
President George Bush's current itinerary.
Yediot Aharonot, in its third editorial, calls on those who believe that
Israel should not release imprisoned Palestinian terrorists to look members of
the Shalit family in the eye and tell them that Gilad cannot be released.
Hatzofeh discusses the controversies over whether Basic Law: President of the
State should be amended so as to provide for the election of the president by
an open - as opposed to the current closed - Knesset vote and regarding the
manner in which President Moshe Katsav will leave office.
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