Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has canceled his scheduled visit to Israel which
was meant to take place in mid-January following disruptions imposed by the Foreign Ministry's workers union, Ynet learned.
Medvedev was slated to visit Israel on January 17-19 accompanied by a delegation of 500 members, including 300 businessmen, ministers and senior officials. The visit was planned months in advance and has major political significance for Israel.
In recent days, directors of the Foreign Ministry were urged by Russia to avoid diplomatic embarrassment and work to prevent disruptions during the visit which could arise in light of the workers' strike.
The Foreign Ministry's workers union said in response to the cancellation that "unfortunately the obtuseness and negligence on the part of the finance minister and his clerks once again hurt the State of Israel's national fortitude and foreign relations." They called on the prime minister and foreign minister "to take responsibility and work to salvage the State of Israel's Foreign Service."
For the second week in a row, employees of the Foreign Ministry have been protesting their wages. On Sunday, the workers arrived in their offices dressed casually donning black t-shirts reading "I'm a poor diplomat." The ministry is currently suspending the exchange of formal telegrams with Israeli missions around world as well as other official and classified messages.
Should the strike continue other visits may be compromised including the visit of Slovenian and Croatian diplomats and members of the German cabinet headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.