Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) on Thursday sharply criticized the dock workers at Israel's ports who decided on Wednesday to launch a sudden strike.
"We will not allow the sabotaging of the Israeli economy and (harming) the honor of the state of Israel," warned Katz at the start of a signing ceremony for the activation contracts of Hadarom Port in Ashdod and Hamifratz Port in Haifa.
Katz threatened that the government will issue restraining orders against the port workers, after they refused to return to work despite a court ruling on Thursday morning compelling them to do so.
"We've clarified it in previous years and we will clarify it now – it isn't worth it for them to try and test us," Katz emphasized.
The minister continued, "if they don't follow the emergency orders we will demand to arrest them as criminals because they are sabotaging the Israeli economy and harming the position of Israel. They are causing damage. There was no reason for this strike."
Katz also addressed the strike planned for Sunday by Israel Railways workers, saying exasperatedly, "striking season has started. There's a new government and everyone is thinking to strike."
Railways workers said the strike was because management had ignored their grievances and violated agreements, but Katz said the step of striking is unnecessary, saying, "I hope that the strike on Sunday will be avoided. Why does this have to be at the expense of the passengers?"
Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who took part in the reforms to the management of Israel's seaports, also took part in the ceremony.
He threw his support behind the government, saying, "we did this reform together. We completely support the government, we support it as the Opposition."
Speaking about the strike, he said, "this is a reckless strike because this reform is good for the citizens of the state of Israel. It can't be that a handful of people stuck on their interests will harm the state of Israel."