Israelis Call Strike Over Unemployment
Workers have called a general strike for two hours on Sunday to protest government handling of unemployment, now at its highest in 20 years.
“The government is behaving with a great deal of laziness,” Yisrael Kessar, head of the powerful Histadrut trade federation, told reporters in this northern Israeli coastal town. The federation represents more than 80% of the Israeli work force.
Israeli officials said Monday that the unemployment rate has exceeded 9%.
“There are 140,000 unemployed against only 20,000 jobs available. That is the gap,” said David Mena, director general of the Israeli Employment Service.
Israel is suffering an economic slowdown partly because of a 19-month-old Palestinian uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Unemployment has risen from 6.4% last year.