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Israelis Call Strike Over Unemployment

From Reuters

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.

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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.


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