Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves the Cortile di San Damaso of the Apostolic Palace at the end of a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Dec. 2, 2013. A strike by Israel's diplomatic staff threatens to cancel the Pope's planned visit to the Holy Land in May. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
A three-week strike by the staff of Israel's Foreign Ministry is dealing a blow to the Jewish state's diplomatic efforts and could cancel Pope Francis' spring visit to the Holy Land. With the standoff escalating this week to include the closure of Israel's embassies and consulates, the nation's ability to defend its security and diplomatic interests is being compromised.
The tense dispute has already forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a visit to Latin America next month and may jeopardize a trip by Pope Francis to Israel in May.
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