The Knesset passed in a preliminary reading Wednesday a legislative amendment that would pave the way for two haredi members of the Jerusalem Municipality's Council to receive salaries as deputy mayors.
Under the mayoralty of Teddy Kollek the Jerusalem Municipality was
given special permission to appoint eight salaried deputy ministers for his
Mayor Nir Barkat also enjoys a wide coalition. Deputies earn between NIS 20,000 and NIS 40,000 per month depending on seniority.
In general the law determines that deputy mayors should be allotted in accordance with the size of a given city's population.
Cities with more than 100,000 residents received two deputy mayors, those with more than 200,000 received three, and cities with more than 300,000 such as Tel Aviv, received four.
However, the scale ended at 500,000 or more, which meant that Jerusalem, which has a population of nearly 800,000, was permitted only six deputy mayors.
If the present amendment passes in the Knesset plenum, remains unchanged after discussions in the Knesset Interior Affairs Committee and passes another final vote in the Knesset, Shas and United Torah Judaism will each be allowed to appoint one of their municipal representatives as a deputy mayor.
The amendment has already been approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) who initiated the amendment, said through a spokesman that two more deputy mayors who were salaried would bring political stability and improve the service Jerusalem residents receive from the municipality.
"You can't expect a member of the municipality to devote himself fully to his work for Jerusalem if he is busy supporting himself and his family," said the spokesman.
"I believe we are fixing a lacuna in the law," added Maklev's spokesman.
Presently, Meretz with three municipal representatives, the National Religious Party with three, and Israel Beiteinu with two, all have deputy mayor positions even though they are smaller than Shas, which has four representatives. Nevertheless, Shas does not have a deputy mayor.
UTJ, with eight representatives, has only one deputy mayor position despite the fact that parties less than half its size have one deputy minister.
A spokesman for Barkat said that these three parties received deputy mayor positions because they supported Barkat before the elections while the haredi parties joined the coalition later.