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Israeli Budget to Miss Deadline

It seems increasingly likely Israel’s 2004 state budget will not be approved before the year’s end.

In recent years lawmakers have failed to pass the spending package on time.

There have been numerous delays to the process, as coalition parties have made what the Treasury is calling “ridiculous demands.”

The Treasury is still embroiled in a battle with the Histadrut labor federation over a variety of issues, but predominantly concerning pension rights.

The Histadrut is still threatening a general strike.

Meanwhile, most schools in Israel were closed indefinitely on Tuesday morning, as local authorities declared an open-ended strike.

They are demanding greater investment in schools.

Teachers unions say while they support the action they are willing to teach. However, the Education Ministry says schools cannot open without security guards on the premises; but they too, are on strike.