It turns out I was wrong about the legislative power of the care-taker government. Yesterday morning, as I got on the bus to the market, I heard the news on the bus driver's radio: "Emergency budgetary changes approved, academic semester to begin on Sunday." Sure enough, on his third day back in office, Olmert called an emergency budgetary session and approved the budgetary changes that the universities were asking for.
Can I get back to you on that one?
The semester was scheduled to start on Sunday, but the university has informed the students that the semester will be delayed "until further notice."
Two years ago the whole school year was delayed by a student strike over raised tuition; last year the already-delayed school year was pushed back even further by a faculty strike over low wages. This year, the institution of higher education itself announced that it's striking for a bigger cut of the national budget, but...
Well, a few weeks ago the old Israeli prime minister (Ehud Olmert) stepped down because he was mired in a huge financial scandal, and the governing party elected a temporary prime minister (Tzipi Livni) to replace him. But she only gets to stay prime minister if she can put together a new parliamentary coalition before a certain deadline. The deadline was two days ago, and she couldn't do it, so now Olmert is back in power, leading a transitional "care-taker" government until the ad-hoc elections, which I think are scheduled to be in February (to give everyone lots of time to campaign).
[Here's the relevant Wikipedia article, with a much better explanation than mine.]
I'm pretty sure that the care-taker government does not have the authority to authorize budgetary changes. If so, the university had better not strike, since no one will have the power to meet their demands anyway! Hopefully they'll step down in the next few days, and start the semester on schedule, and then I'll know — at least tentatively!! — what this year's academic schedule is.
Sure enough, this appeared in my email inbox yesterday night:
No explanations or apologies. Just one line:
"On Sunday, 11/2/2008, the 5769 school year will commence on schedule."
Which means my academic semester will officially begin at 4:30 on Sunday, with "Between Law and Moral and Political Philosophy." Or for short ... ?במלאפ"ף Bamla'apaf? Come to think of it, what in the world are the students going to call this class?