Sat, Mar 08, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Israeli diplomats suspend activities due to labor dispute

Staff writer, with CNA

Israeli Representative to Taiwan Simona Halperin has joined Israeli diplomats around the world in suspending public and diplomatic activities amid a labor dispute between diplomatic staff and the Middle Eastern country’s finance ministry.

The strike, which started on Thursday, came after months-long talks between Israeli diplomats and the Israeli Ministry of Finance broke down when they failed to reach a solution to a labor dispute.

In a Facebook post, Halperin said it was a difficult decision to suspend all projects and activities between Israel and Taiwan, and she hoped the dispute would be resolved soon.

As part of the Israeli diplomats’ worldwide strike, the Israeli representative office in Taiwan has suspended the processing of visa applications.

The Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said it is currently not accepting applications or issuing visas for travel to Israel, though other operations are continuing normally. The suspension of consular services could affect people seeking visas to work or study in Israel, but visa-free treatment for Taiwanese means that those traveling for tourism would still be able to spend up to 90 days without any problems.

Israel’s diplomats will for the time being not engage with foreign representatives, take care of official visits of any kind in Israel or overseas, issue visas or provide any consular services, according to a statement posted on the Israeli Foreign Ministry Web site on Thursday.

Israeli diplomats around the world are insisting that their demands for better working conditions be met.

Among them are higher salaries that they say reflect their higher living costs overseas, better compensation for extra hours of work and an end to what they call a discriminatory tax policy.

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