City services, businesses and schools in three southern Israeli communities were shut down on Sunday amid a strike protesting layoffs from nearby factories that are the bloodline of citizens in Israel's periphery.
Most schools will be shut down in Arad, Dimona and Yerhucham starting from Sunday, city services will not operate and a protest is set to take place in the entrance to the town.
The strike comes after nearly 100 days of strike by workers in Israel Chemicals over a wave of layoffs. The Dead Sea works, under the control of Israel Chemicals, is also facing a workers' strike for the past three months.
Thousands of people in southern Israel wish to draw attention to the layoffs from the factories under the control of Israel Chemicals, including recent and planned layoffs in the near future, and draw focus on the hard economic situation in the communities near the southern Negev desert.
There is segregation in Israel between the communities in the center and periphery, with few job opportunities in southern Israel and bleak prospects for work and development.
The Israel Chemical Plants, located near the Dead Sea, are the economic bloodline and main income provider to citizens in those communities.
Local politicians have for years urged to invest more in developing the region and create more job opportunities, after the closing of more than 25 factories in the area in the past decade.
About a third of Dimona's population work in industrial workplaces. Due to the introduction of innovative technologies, many workers have been fired in recent years. More than half of the employed residents in Yerhucam also work in the local and regional industries in local factories. The town also suffered high unemployment rates.
The Ynet news website reported that in 2014, the employment rate in the south decreased by 0.6 percent, whereas in the other parts of Israel there was a rise of 0.5 percent in the employment rate.