David Cameron’s visit to Israel has been thrown into doubt for a second time in three weeks amid an escalating dispute involving the union for Israel’s foreign ministry workers, writes Justin Cohen.

While stopping short of a general strike, Ministry employees have this morning been asked to stop all work on official visits to Israel by politicians and other delegations from abroad. The move, which is effective immediately, could hamper plans for the British prime minister’s trip, which Israeli media reported has been rescheduled for next week.

Reports suggest he is due to address the Knesset on 12 March. It’s understood that while the bulk of such visits – from preparing points for discussion at various meetings to arranging ceremonies, hotels and cars – are usually carried out by the foreign ministry, some of these duties could be taken over by Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv as a last resort.

The union has been engaged in mediation with the finance ministry for a year over salary and benefits, which it claims fall below the sums received by other delegates of Israel abroad.