National park and nature reserve workers on Thursday called off a strike they had threatened to hold for at least two days during the upcoming Passover festival, when hundreds of thousands of Israelis traditionally go out to see nature in full bloom.

The management at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority had petitioned the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court to prevent the strike, and during court deliberations the workers agreed to call off the strike, which would have shuttered 200 nature reserves and 70 national parks next Wednesday and Thursday.

Workers initially called the strike over what they said was the suspension of negotiations over salaries and conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis visit the parks over Passover every year.

Israeli boys visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Paneas, in the Banyas Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights, on July 9, 2008. (Yossi Zamir/ Flash 90)

Israeli boys visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Paneas, in the Banyas Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights, July 9, 2008. (Yossi Zamir/ Flash90)

Although there is considerable overlap, national parks in Israel usually encompass historical, archaeological or architectural sites of interest, while nature reserves center on flora, fauna, landscape and other features of nature.

Issues of dispute include management trying to force workers into personal contracts as opposed to collective agreements — making promotion more difficult, workers say — seasonal employment, and quotas on hours of work.

Fast friends: An ibex chats up one of Tristram’s grackles on the Ein Gedi rocks (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

An ibex chats up a Tristram’s grackle at the Ein Gedi nature reserve (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

A statement from management said that the strike had been called while talks were still underway and while understandings between management and workers were being examined by the Finance Ministry’s wages supervisor, Channel 2 reported earlier this week.

“The [workers] committee’s behavior, which uses the workers as pawns and holds the public that wants to vacation as hostage, is ruining work relations at the authority,” the statement added.