Hundreds of social workers took to the streets of Israel on Thursday morning, blocking roads and interchanges, over low pay at a time when the workload is the heaviest it has been in years due to the coronavirus crisis.
Dozens blocked Tel Aviv's Azrieli interchange off to traffic, carrying signs and banners with words "Shame," "We're not breathing," and "Social workers' cry".
Efrat, a social worker from Tel Aviv said the salary for some employees is so low, it sometimes averages less than the minimum wage.
"We came here to fight and change the attitude of the State of Israel toward the public in need of welfare services," she said. "We are here for all Israeli citizens, who at some point in their lives needed a social worker, who is attentive and able to treat them the way they deserve to be treated."
Michal, a social worker from Ramat Gan, said the way Israel treats its social services and social workers is a "disgrace".
"We are the ones who need respiratory assistance," she said. "It is impossible to survive one month on our salary. It is impossible to provide services to people, there are overloads and there are no employees who want to work and staff the positions."
Danny, a social worker from Giv'atayim, said the workload - which has always been heavy - has multiplied due to people affected by the health crisis, applying for welfare assistance.
"We are saying 'enough' to violence and 'enough' to shameful conditions and the lack of resources."
According to Israel Union of Social Workers, 83% of employees experienced violence at their place of work. At least 30% experienced physical violence and 30% were victims of threats directed at them or their family members.