“Fair in situation, the joy of the whole earth; even mount Tzion, the uttermost parts of the north, the city of the great King.” Psalms 48:3 (The Israel Bible™)
Garbage piled up on the streets and sidewalks of Jerusalem Tuesday, blocking roads and rail lines, as a municipality strike entered its third day.
Municipal day care centers and kindergartens shut down for the first time since the strike began, along with the regular services that have been shuttered since Sunday: garbage collection, welfare and social services.
City workers went on strike to protest the failure of the Finance Ministry to transfer the municipality’s 2017 budget to city coffers. If the funds are not transferred, the city will be forced to lay off workers and decrease the quality of services offered, the municipality said.
Some city workers, including auxiliary teachers, have not been paid since the school year began in September.
Dumpsters throughout the city are overflowing, and trash has spilled out from the Machane Yehudah open market onto the tracks of the city’s light rail, disrupting train service.
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat called on the Finance Minister to send the funds immediately in order to “prevent more suffering for the city’s residents”, but the Finance Ministry placed the blame on “mismanagement.”
The municipality immediately denied the accusations, pointing out that the city has never been in deficit under Barkat’s mayorship and has earned awards on its finance management from the Interior Ministry.
Workers have gathered to protest in multiple locations throughout the city, including in front of the city’s treasury department.
Meanwhile, all of Jerusalem’s residents are suffering under the effects of the strike. Parents of young children are forced to stay home from work to care for their kids, and mountains of smelly garbage are filling the streets, marring the beauty of the world’s holiest city.