Hundreds of teachers took part Monday morning in a protest in front of Tel Aviv's David Intercontinental Hotel, where Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was expected to speak at the annual Israeli Business Conference.
The teachers attempted to seal off the streets leading to the venue, subsequently clashing with police forces which were securing the event. Several protesting teachers later interrupted Olmert's address before the conference's participants.
The teachers, who claim that Olmert is trampling their rights and humiliating education in Israel, were protesting in the plaza across from the hotel.
Israeli middle and high school teachers began striking around two months ago, but the injunctions issued by the National Labor Court against the strike will take effect at the end of the Hanukkah break, forcing the teachers to return to their classrooms.
Erez: Expect anarchyChairman of the Middle and High School Teachers' Association, Ran Erez, met with Olmert Sunday evening, for the first time since the beginning of the strike. At the meeting's conclusion, Erez said that he does not know what will happen when the injunctions take effect, but believes that "anarchy will break out on Thursday, and the government is afraid."
Protesting teachers at the business conference(Photo: Yaron Brener)
Teacher's Association members arrived at the conference earlier in the day and attempted to pass out flyers warning of an additional deterioration in Israeli education.
The flyers were intended for the prime minister's speech, and called on him to become involved in the negotiations to bring the crisis to an end.
The Shin Bet officers present at the even as part of Olmert advanced security detail, had security personnel remove the flyers. Teachers that insisted on holding the flyers encountered hostile reactions from the guards.
The flyers read: "We remain committed to the prime minister's honor, but in a democratic country we must remember that politicians belong to the citizens and not the other way around. You (conference participants) have become the citizens most able to influence decision makers in this country.
Let us turn this convention into a turning point for Israeli education. Do not stand in the way. Let us call upon the prime minister to come before us this Hanukkah and declare a new light for Israeli education."
Attendees at the Israeli Business Conference include senior businesspeople and government officials, and the event, which began Saturday night, is being heavily covered in the media.
Moran Zelikovitch contributed to this report