Tradition! “Junior Faculty” Keep Higher Ed. in Israel Afloat

According to an editorial in the paper Haaretz, a nationwide strike by 4500 senior faculty has entered its seventh week. As faculty are wont to do, the senior lecturers want salaries that keep up with the cost of living and inflation. The paper lambasts the striking faculty, calling their strike a result of “obtuseness and irresponsibility.”

Meanwhile, Israeli higher education is being kept afloat by so-called “junior faculty.” The paper describes them as “…people, who account for 47 percent of all lecturers in institutions of higher learning, [and who] are employed as subcontractors and have no rights. They will not enjoy the fruits of the strike, even if it is a rousing success.” Sound familiar?

It is the final paragraph of the editorial that is most damning:
It may be assumed that the strike will not end that way, but rather with a compromise on the proposed 5 percent increase. The senior staff, now making excuses for what they say was the bad agreement they signed in 2001, by citing inflationary and security pressures, will not be able to blame anyone but themselves: for not using their status to wage an uncompromising struggle against the decline in higher education; for allowing the institutions to be managed by outmoded methods; for not protesting when hiring was frozen; for the shameful exploitation of underlings; and – most of all – for going out on an inexplicable strike that seem to be about concerns over their own individual situation.

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