After several months of futile negotiations, the Middle and High School Teachers' Association launched a general, unlimited strike Wednesday morning, covering all middle schools and high schools in the Jewish sector.
The teachers are protesting the ongoing wear in their wages and working conditions.
In view of the strike, the Education Ministry has opened a situation room, where parents, teachers and the 400,000 students affected by the teachers' association's move would be able to get updated information about the strike.
The Education Ministry's website has also been updated with the list of 600 middle schools that have not gone on strike, since their teachers belong to the Israel Teachers' Union, not to the Middle and High School Teachers' Association.
Furthermore, according to the ministry's order, the 50 classes tending to special-education needs students will not strike.
Tuesday's meeting between Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Director of the Middle and High School Teachers' Association Ran Erez and several of the teachers' representatives, held in an attempt to avoid the strike, failed after the teachers' association rejected Tamir's proposal of a partial wage increase and a five-month long negotiation process.
The Education Ministry slammed the teachers' association's decision to strike, claiming it had negated on the wage contract already agreed upon between the parties a few months ago.
According to the said agreement, the teachers' wages were to increase 20% to 40%, bringing the inexperienced teachers' salary to NIS 2,800 (about $1,300 a month) and the homeroom teachers' salary up to NIS 5,300 ($1,450).
"I'm sad to see that on Israel's 60th birthday the teachers' association has decided to declare a strike… I hoped that this year especially we would be able to join forces in favor of active citizenship," Tamir told Ynet on Wednesday.
"We can certainly understand the teachers' move, since this situation has been going on for several years with no solution in sight," said Katrero, adding that the students' council hoped both side would be able to come to an understanding soon.
To contact the Education Ministry's situation room please dial 1212-234567