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General Strike Briefly Shuts Down Israel

A general strike by Israel’s public sector ended on Monday after four hours of near paralysis across in the economy.

The strike took place from 6:00 A.M. to 10 A.M., after Labor Court President Nili Arad decided after a night of deliberations to limit it to only four hours.

The strike included trains, buses, universities, government ministries and municipalities. Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv was also closed.

Due to the strike, many Israelis prepared accordingly and opted to take other modes of transportation rather than trains and buses, causing massive traffic jams.

Israeli airline El Al decided to reschedule all of its flights to Sunday night, so most people were able to fly out of Israel before the strike took effect.

The Labor Court finished its deliberations in the early morning hours, but sent off its decision limiting the duration of the strike only after the strike began. The deliberations took over five hours, after talks between Ofer Eini, head of the Histadrut Labor Federation and Finance Minister Steinitz ended without a breakthrough.

The Histadrut, the umbrella organization for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, wants the government to hire some 250,000 contract workers, who have working conditions that are inferior to those of civil workers that are directly on government payrolls.

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