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Diplomats' Strike Shuts Down Israeli Consulates Around The World

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Israeli Consulate in New York, and others worldwide, have shut down as diplomats have gone on strike.

Since Tuesday, consular services have been made unavailable due to the labor dispute, according to an announcement from the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

During the strike, Israeli diplomats will not be engaging with foreign representatives, taking care of any official visits, issuing visas, or providing consular services.

The weekly newsletter and other regular published materials have also been suspended, and public diplomacy and routine meetings have also ceased.

The diplomatic corps said it was left no other choice to go on strike following a year-long dispute from the Ministry of Finance and a seven-month mediation process that ended in failure.

"Precisely because of their deep commitment to Israel's international standing and national security, Israel's diplomats insist that their reasonable demands be met," the release said.

Among the demands are salary increases to match the cost of living, an end to what they called a "discriminatory" tax policy, and consideration of the cost of spouses and children who follow the diplomats to their posts.

"It is unfortunate that the same dedicated civil servants, who receive praise wherever they are stationed in the world as representatives of Israel, were met with nothing but scorn by the Finance Ministry bureaucrats, who know little about the importance of diplomacy to national security," the release said.

The only consular services available during the strike are life-threatening situations and burials in Israel, the release said.

The release did not mention any plans to resume negotiations.

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