The Israeli Embassy in Ukraine will resume its work on November 1 after a strike announced earlier in protest against the actions of the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the resulting funding problems.
“Our fight has not ended, it has only been temporarily suspended by court order. Tomorrow, on Friday, November 1, we will resume the work of the embassy on an ongoing basis,” the embassy reported on Twitter on Thursday.
The Israeli Consulate in Toronto (Canada) reported on Twitter that Israeli diplomatic agencies around the world were resuming their work. “Our Consulate, as well as other Israeli missions around the world, are back to work. Negotiations between MFA employees and the Israeli Ministry of Finance will continue,” it says.
As reported, on October 30, Israeli diplomatic missions in Ukraine and around the world announced their suspension of work in early hours of Wednesday due to a labor dispute with the Israeli Ministry of Finance. A message was posted on Facebook of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto that the diplomatic mission was on strike.
The Times of Israel said that all Israeli embassies and consulates around the world shut down early Wednesday as diplomats and military attachés went on strike in a long-simmering dispute with the Finance Ministry over expense stipends paid to envoys. The move, coordinated by the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Histadrut Labor Federation, came after the Treasury reportedly backtracked on previous understandings and said it would force the envoys to pay back thousands of dollars that they had been reimbursed for expenses, it said.
The dispute is over expense stipends paid to Israeli diplomats and Defense Ministry envoys stationed abroad that are meant to cover a wide array of expenses, from hosting events at an ambassador’s residence to transport costs.
At the same time, Israeli media say that diplomats have been complaining about low salaries for several years. They also expressed dissatisfaction with the reduction in the cost of the work of diplomatic missions. In 2014, the Israeli union of Histadrut managed to agree with representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Finance to raise salaries for diplomats. However, according to diplomats, this arrangement has not been fully implemented yet.
The closure came into effect at 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning Israel time. Thus, not a single Israeli citizen who is abroad and finds himself in a difficult situation will be able to receive consular assistance, the newspaper notes.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine is awaiting ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) by the new Knesset after the elections on September 17. “We expect the ratification of the free trade agreement by the new Knesset after the September 17 elections. This will allow increasing the volume of trade between our countries,” Zelensky wrote on his Facebook page on Monday evening following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The president also noted that Ukraine and Israel had signed four important documents that will expand contacts between the countries in education, culture and sports. In addition, close cooperation in the agricultural sector is expected.
“I invited Israeli companies to come to work in Ukraine: to build roads and infrastructure, invest in medicine, education, energy saving and, of course, in IT. In the next five years we will grow rapidly, so Ukraine today is the most attractive place for strategic investors,” Zelensky said.