I haven't really addressed the on going university strike, mostly because I am not really good a numbers and economic models. Hence, it's hard for me to say which offer is better or worse. As I write, though, the sides are arguing for and against injunctions to force us back to work for two weeks (i.e. till the official end of the first semester). So, perhaps, in light of this article, I should offer a few observations:
1) Higher education in Israel has taken a budgetary beating for a decade. We have had no raises (either COLor real) in all that time. Budget lines for new hires have disappeared. This has been most noticeable in the Humanities and Social Sciences. ALL new money (even if slated for the latter) has gone to the sexy 'hard sciences.' In my department, for example, thee has been only one new hire in three years and he's also the youngest lecturer, aged 46!
2) The issue is not only salaries, but support for research. I'll share a small example. The library at Bar Ilan subscribes to JSTOR I and II. The problem is that JSTOR III has most of the more critical journals relating to religion and Jewish Studies. When I asked about expanding the JSTOR subscription, I was told 'No Money.' (Needless to say Bar Ilan raises money based on the excellence of its Jewish Studies faculty, which really is excellent, and is the only address in Israel for some fields e.g. History of Halakhah.)
3) The press is presenting us as pampered ingrates. Yes, we teach between 6-8 hours a week. However, anyone who knows anything about academia knows that: a) guiding graduate students takes up many many hours of time b) research and writing are also time consuming c) tenured faculty sit on endless numbers of committees. So we put in our hours, believe me.
The joke is that because of the meagre pay, we need second and third jobs. That, obviously, interferes with or ability to fulfill our primary jobs well. This is especially egregious in the non-hard sciences. The mathematicians and scientists can always consult and come out way ahead.
4) The real victims are the adjuncts and junior faculty who work for slave wages and getno benefits. Their light should have been part of our struggle. They are silent, because they can be fired.
This strike has impacted my family from both directions. In addition to me, one son had his MA delayed and my daughter had her first semester (about which she was so very excited) destroyed. So, it's important not to demonize us lecturers. We know the score, better than anyone.