Israeli bill would give pension perks to refuseniks

Proposal states that any anyone who did not become an employee of the state after moving to Israel would get a state-sponsored pension increase of 2% of average salary in market.

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January 7, 2016 16:45
1 minute read.
The Knesset

The Knesset . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A proposal for the state to give increased pension benefits to activists who helped people move to Israel from countries in which it was illegal to do so is expected to go to a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Under the bill sponsored by MK Bennie Begin (Likud), anyone who did not become an employee of the state after moving to Israel would get a state-sponsored pension increase of 2 percent of the average salary in the market for each year he or she was an aliya activist or prisoner of Zion.

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The reason for the exemption for former state employees is that most already receive benefits if they were illegal aliya activists; those whose benefits come to less than what the bill provides would get additional payments.

Many of the bills’ beneficiaries would be immigrants from the former Soviet Union, but Begin said on Thursday that some are from Syria.

About 350 people would qualify for the extra benefits if the bill becomes law, costing the state an estimated NIS 4 million per year.

“These aliya activists put themselves in danger and suffered in order to bring Jews to Zion and protect the spirit of aliya and our connection to the Land of Israel and State of Israel,” Begin said. “Today, they’re older, and this amendment is to help those who don’t get a state pension, because they weren’t government employees.”

Begin said the refuseniks engaged in “important voluntary activity in difficult conditions,” and he “wanted to act to help a group that deserves support.”

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