In a move that is set to up the pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, several unions in Israel have launched a nationwide workers' strike.
The strike, which began on Monday morning, has seen thousands of workers across various industries down their tools in protest against the government's economic policies. The unions are demanding better wages and working conditions for their members, as well as an end to what they see as unfair labor practices.
Speaking to reporters outside his office in Jerusalem, Avi Nissenkorn, head of the Histadrut labor federation - one of the groups involved in the strike - said that they had no choice but to take action. "We have been negotiating with the government for months now and there has been no progress," he said. "Our members are struggling to make ends meet and we cannot sit idly by while their rights are trampled upon."
The strike comes at a time when Netanyahu is already under immense pressure from protesters who have taken to the streets over allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The prime minister was indicted last year on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust - accusations he denies.
Despite this latest setback for his administration, Netanyahu remains defiant. In a statement released by his office on Monday morning, he accused the unions of being politically motivated and called on them to return to negotiations.
"The timing of this strike is not coincidental," he said. "It is clear that it has been orchestrated by those who seek my downfall."
Netanyahu also warned that any attempts at disrupting public services or causing chaos would not be tolerated.
As tensions continue to rise across Israel amid widespread dissatisfaction with its leadership, many are watching closely how this latest development will play out. With both sides refusing to back down anytime soon, it seems likely that this standoff between unions and government will continue for some time yet.