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June 28, 2017

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Israel office in Taipei joins worldwide strike

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Israeli representative office in Taiwan yesterday announced it would shut down the operations of the office as part of a worldwide general strike of the country's foreign missions due to a labor dispute.

In a Facebook post, Israel's representative to Taiwan, Simona Halperin, said yesterday that the office has joined embassies and consulates of Israel around the world to take part in the strike amid a labor dispute between diplomatic staff and the Middle Eastern country's finance ministry.

"Like all 103 offices, embassies and consulates of Israel around the world, the Israel Economic and Cultural office in Taipei closed it's doors today. It's a sad moment for me personally, as someone who devotes her life to promoting Israel in the world."

Halperin also said she and her staff will suspend work in the office and would not enter the office for work for the time being. Projects and activities between Israel and Taiwan are also suspended until the dispute is resolved.

The representative also posted a photograph on her Facebook page, showing herself and staff wearing black T-shirts and holding a banner reading "strike."

Halperin's remark came after Israeli Foreign Ministry announced a general strike on Sunday. The strike is expected to close down the country's foreign missions and totally paralyze the Israeli diplomatic system.

For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, 103 Israeli missions abroad will be completely closed for an indefinite period of time, as will the Foreign Ministry's headquarters in Jerusalem.

The strike was called in protest of the employment conditions of Israeli diplomats and the Finance Ministry's decision to cut their salaries, according to the foreign ministry.

Worldwide Protest

According to an Israeli foreign ministry statement, Israel's diplomats will no longer engage with foreign representatives, take care of official visits of any kind — either in Israel or overseas — issue visas or provide any consular services.

According to the statement, "This is just part of an extended list of organizational measures which will take effect immediately, after the Ministry of Finance caused the failure of a seven-month mediation process led by the former Chief Justice of the Labor Court."

"It may seem unusual for the diplomatic service of a country to become engaged in a labor dispute. Out of our deep commitment to presenting Israel's interests abroad, Israel's international standing and national security, we, the Israeli diplomats, insist that our reasonable demands be met," the statement said.

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