Dissatisfied with its wages, Israel’s diplomats around the world have been on strike for more than two weeks, and the ramifications of the labor sanctions are also being felt in Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
"At this time we are sorry to inform the general public that the Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu, along with all Israeli Embassies worldwide, remained closed from 24 March 2014 until further notice," ambassador of Israel to Nepal Hanan Goder.
This is for the first time in the history of the State of Israel that such a situation has occurred. The decision to close all embassies was made with a heavy heart by the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Employee's Labour Union.
This drastic step comes as the Israeli Ministry of Finance has not seen fit to reach a compromise with the workers legitimate demands for a fair wage and reasonable work conditions.
"As of this morning the Embassy's door will remain closed until further notice. The embassy staff will stop the preparation of important agreements between the nations. No official visits will take place, no cultural activities will be allowed. Aid and development programs will stop and no consular activities will be performed," said ambassador of Israel to Nepal Hanan Goder.
"We, as Israeli diplomats, feel a great responsibility to our country and to our profession, and because of this we feel that we have no choice but to take this drastic step in order to facilitate the changes that are so much needful at our Ministry," said Israeli ambassador Hanan Goder.
While demonstrating in front of the Embassy of Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu Ambassador Hanan Goder said, "I regret that we had to take this action. Unfortunately, these officials at the Israeli Ministry of Finance understand only the language of damage! I apologize to the public and who ever need the services of the Israeli Embassy."
Israeli ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder took part in picketing in front of Israeli Embassy building in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. “We are protesting against the Ministry of Finance decision not to increase our salary. Not only in Nepal hundred embassies around the world are closed because of policies of Israeli Ministry of Finance. They are cutting our salary,” said Israeli ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder.
“We love our country but we deserve better salary. As the salary in foreign service is too low, over thirty percent of new comers have already left foreign service. I am protesting against the decision to cut our salary. The salary has eroded in the last 15 years, the salary has not increased despite the high inflation, “said ambassador Hanan Goder. “We’re doing most of our work internally right now. We can’t provide services to the community, unless it’s life-or-death matters.”
Tasks that the Embassy has not been handling under the strike include handling official visits of state leaders, issuing visas and more. The strike, which has pitted Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs against the country’s Ministry of Finance, began on March 4. It follows a proposal made by the Israeli treasury department, which handles the country’s budget, that was considered unsatisfactory to Israel’s foreign ministry, which includes the country’s diplomats working inside the country and abroad.
Ambassador Hanan Goder said that while there are several issues that the diplomatic corps would like to see addressed in any labor deal that is reached, their primary concern is with compensation, specifically pay adjustments for people serving overseas.