Lapid seeks NIS 700 pay boost for soldiers

The move, which Yesh Atid estimates would cost NIS 1.2 billion - NIS 1.5 billion, would be a major increase for soldiers, who currently earn between NIS 400-800 a month.

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January 25, 2015 18:00
1 minute read.
Yair Lapid

Finance Minister Yair Lapid. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid on Sunday called for increasing soldiers’ pay by NIS 700 a month in several stages, and said he would demand such a policy as part of a coalition agreement following March’s elections.

“It can’t be that soldiers, fighters, who fought in Operation Protective Edge don’t have enough money to get through the month,” Lapid said alongside several other party members outside the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv. “We will fight and raise the salary for soldiers in compulsory service in line with the minimum wage. It’s possible and it will happen, exactly as we transferred a billion shekels to Holocaust survivors and organized the summer- school programs.”

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The move, which Yesh Atid estimates would cost NIS 1.2 billion - NIS 1.5b., would be a major increase for soldiers, who currently earn between NIS 400-800 a month. Most of the money, they say, would come out of the defense budget, based on recommendations made in 2010 by the Goren Committee, which recommended reforms to pensions and benefits to disabled veterans and families of fallen soldiers.

As finance minister, Lapid fought for greater oversight of the Defense Ministry’s budget, which has more independence and less transparency than other ministry budget, despite being the largest. He faced tough opposition to such oversight from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MKs Ofer Shelah and Elazar Stern have already drafted proposed legislation on the matter.

“Over the past five years the spending on the salaries of professional soldiers increased 20%, but there was no increase for those in compulsory service. Yesh Atid will put an end to that,” Shelah said on Sunday.

If it passes, the legislation will raise salaries alongside the minimum wage, which will increase by NIS 700 a month in three phases over two years. The Knesset passed the minimum-wage legislation last week.

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