Israel Museum receives $4 million grant, will reopen without pay cuts
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Israel Museum receives $4 million grant, will reopen without pay cuts

National institution announces funding after several hundred museum staff protest against ongoing closure and proposed 5% salary reductions

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Israel Museum workers hold a protest against the ongoing closure of the museum following the spread of the coronavirus, outside the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on July 28, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel Museum workers hold a protest against the ongoing closure of the museum following the spread of the coronavirus, outside the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on July 28, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following months of work to secure emergency funding, the Israel Museum announced Thursday that it had secured a $4 million grant from US supporters to be used to reopen the museum and return all staff without pay cuts.

“This grant will allow the museum to reopen immediately without affecting the salaries of the museum staff,” said Ido Bruno, managing director of the Israel Museum.

The Israel Museum hasn’t reopened its doors since closing in mid-March due to the coronavirus.

Of the museum’s 400 staff members and 400 volunteers, about 50 continued to work throughout the coronavirus. Most of the museum’s curator staff was put on furlough and told there would be a gradual return to work by September, with pay cuts and shortened hours.

On Tuesday, 270 staff members gathered outside the museum, protesting the decision to cut salaries by five percent in order to fund the reopening of the institution.

Israel Museum workers protesting the ongoing closure of the Israel Museum on July 28, 2020 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)

The museum was expected to reach a deficit of NIS 50 million (around $14,685,000) by 2022 due to losses from the coronavirus. The one-time grant will cover a quarter of the deficit, according to the museum statement, and offers some breathing room, without affecting salaries.

Bruno added that museum officials will meet with staff representatives Thursday in order to finalize conditions for reopening the museum.

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