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May 23, 2017

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Labor dispute at home ties up Israel's Taipei envoy in strike

TAIPEI--Israel's representative to Taiwan, Simona Halperin, has joined Israeli diplomats around the world in suspending public and diplomatic activities amid a labor dispute between diplomatic staff and the Middle Eastern country's finance ministry.

The strike, which started Thursday, came after months-long talks between Israeli diplomats and the Ministry of Finance broke down when they failed to reach a solution to a labor dispute.

In a Facebook post, Halperin said it was a difficult decision to suspend projects and activities between Israel and Taiwan and she hoped the dispute will be resolved soon.

As part of the Israeli diplomats' strike worldwide, the Israeli representative office in Taiwan has suspended the processing of visa applications.

The Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei said it is currently not accepting applications or issuing visas for travel to Israel, though other operations are continuing normally.

The suspension of consular services could affect people seeking visas to work or study in Israel, but visa-free treatment for Taiwanese citizens means those traveling for tourism will still be able to spend up to 90 days without any problems.

Israel's diplomats will for the time being not engage with foreign representatives, take care of official visits of any kind in Israel or overseas, issue visas or provide any consular services, according to a statement on the Israeli Foreign Ministry posted Thursday.

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