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Israeli embassy strikes again

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (EPA/RAINER JENSEN) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (EPA/RAINER JENSEN)

Springtime is apparently strike time for foreign service workers.

As they did around this time last year, Israeli embassies across the world are on strike over an ongoing (and apparently going no where) labor dispute in Israel. Diplomats contend they are not paid wages commensurate with the expenses at their foreign posting, among other such complaints.

Since March 3, diplomats have ceased most consular operations.

If you’re an Israeli visiting America and have lost your passport, you’re not going home any time soon.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to pay the White House another visit, he won’t have his embassy to help facilitate.

Embassy strikes are fairly unusual, although the Israelis held one for several months last year over the same issue. And you may recall, the Canadians shut down their foreign operations over wages a year ago, too.

The Jerusalem Post in an editorial this week urged the Israeli government to treat its foreign service personnel more fairly. The piece cites the security risks to Israelis living abroad, quoting one unnamed diplomat saying, “every morning you wake up and begin a battery of security checks to make sure your car is not booby-trapped, you are not about to be ambushed and your children are not exposed to anti-Israeli sentiments in school.”

A spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. said there’s no immediate end in sight to the strike. But while in some parts of the world the personnel are engaging in softer protest techniques like dressing down on the job, the Washington-based diplomats are still putting on a suit each morning to be “as respectful as we can to the most important ally we have.”

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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