/PRESS RELEASE/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT//

 

(Atlanta, GA) – On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Israeli diplomats and foreign service workers in Jerusalem and abroad returned to work after nearly a month of sanctions that eventually escalated to a full strike. For the first time in the history of the country, all of Israel’s 102 embassies and consulates closed their doors. The actions were undertaken after a yearlong negotiating process between Israel’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Finance fell through.

In an op-ed sent to friends of the Consulate and published by Global Atlanta, Consul General Opher Aviran of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast told supporters in the region, “Why I Can’t Work.” The proposed fair demands rejected by the Ministry of Finance that led to the unprecedented action included updated salaries, cost-of-living adjustments, and a tangible appreciation for the danger and hardships faced not only by the diplomats, but their spouses and families.

As the labor dispute stretched on, ceremonies, celebrations, and official visits were put into jeopardy or cancelled. These included worries about the Pope’s planned visit to Israel in May and President Shimon Peres’ state visit to China.

Consul General Aviran expressed his delight upon the resolution of the dispute, stating, “We are satisfied that our contribution to Israel’s national security, trade, culture, academia, and image has been recognized and we will be able to serve our country with dignity.”

Fittingly, the resolution comes just prior to the beginning of the Passover spring holiday, a time often associated with renewal and rebirth. Embracing the spirit of the season, the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, along with Israel’s other foreign missions worldwide, is ready to reinvigorate relationships with friends and supporters after a frustrating, yet necessary trial.

Here in the Southeast, the Consulate looks forward to continuing the great tradition of a community celebration for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, in early May. Additionally, Consul General Aviran and the dedicated staff of the Consulate are already hard at work assisting with preparations for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s visit to Israel in June.

 

For additional information, contact Dena Weiss, Director of Public Affairs, Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, (404) 487-6511 public.affairs@atlanta.mfa.gov.il.