High schoolers from around Israel on Tuesday nixed plans to go on strike after their teachers agreed not to cancel trips and extracurricular activities.
Hundreds of thousands of Israeli teens had planned to skip classes Wednesday because the Israeli Secondary School Teachers Association had issued a directive instructing teachers to go on strike and cancel school trips.
The purpose of the teachers’ threatened move, according to the association, was to pressure the Finance Ministry against reducing teachers’ salaries.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, the association announced that it would withdraw the directive and temporarily halt the teachers’ strike after being asked to do so by Education Minister Shai Piron.
The association said it would make a decision on whether to continue the strike in the long term after meeting with Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday.
The directive had prompted widespread protests in Israel’s high schools, with students blasting their teachers for fighting for fair pay at their expense.
The students protested the fact that trips that were supposed to take place in the coming weeks were being canceled, even though rescheduling would be difficult with exams around the corner. The canceled events included cultural activities such as plays and visits to museums, including Yad Vashem.
“We support the teachers and think they’re right, but we youths are the ones being hurt even though we are not responsible for their salaries,” National Student Council head Noam Feigenbaum told Channel 2 News on Tuesday morning, as students around the country were gearing up for the protest.
Though Feigenbaum said she was “skeptical” anything would come out of meetings the council planned to hold with Piron and association director Ran Erez, the strike was indeed called off on Tuesday afternoon.
Erez, for his part, urged the students to keep protesting.
“I understand the students who are suffering. However, I also hear they aren’t protesting against the teachers, but against the situation,” he told Channel 2.
“The Finance Ministry doesn’t solve problems it was supposed to solve and doesn’t allow the Education Ministry to solve them. The students understand that too. If we work together, we may be able to achieve something.”