The Israeli Cabinet narrowly averted a crisis and possible collapse of the government today by postponing a decision on a controversial wage increase for teachers until a compromise can be worked out later in the week.
Finance Minister Yigael Hurvitz has said he will resign if a special study commission's recommendations to up-grade teacher salaries 30 to 60 percent are adopted. Education Minister Zevelun Hammer has said he will resign if they are not adopted, which probably would lead to a nationwide teachers' strike.
Hurvitz, who warned that the inflationary effect of the raises would wreck his plans to bring Israel's economy under control, threatened to take with him three votes in the Knesset, or parliament, from the Rafi faction of the ruling Likud coalition. This would mean the collapse of Prime Minister Menachem Begin's paper-thin majority in the Knesset. The Likud has only 61 votes of the Knesset's 120 members -- one more than a majority.
Cabinet sources said Begin is seeking a compromise in which the commision report would be accepted, including provisions for upgrading teacher training and more autonomy for teachers and principals, but that wage hikes would be postponed until the current contract expires in April 1982.
Leaders of the teachers' unions, angered by the delay, said protest meetings will be held in Israeli schools Monday.
The Cabinet also approved the nomination of Knesset member Yoram Avidor as minister of communications, replacing Energy Minister Yitzhak Modai, who last week gave up one of his two portfolios.