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Compromise Ends Strike By 600,000 Workers In Israel

Hard-pressed union and government negotiators struck a deal Sunday to end a nationwide public-employee strike that had shut down much of Israel for five days.

The walkout by more than 600,000 workers had stranded travelers at the national airport and closed banks, post offices, kindergartens and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Histadrut union leader Amir Peretz announced Sunday that a meeting with Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman produced a compromise over pensions, sending strikers back to work late Sunday.

The massive protest had been prompted in part by a Finance Ministry proposal to roll back a pension agreement signed by the previous Labor government.

The Israel Manufacturers Association estimated that the shutdown cost the Israeli economy about $32 million a day, and Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman called the damage “irreversible.”

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