MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) is receiving a lifetime IDF pension despite the fact that he only served a few years in the Army Spokesperson's Unit, it was revealed Sunday.
Out of eight years of career military service, Shai served four years and 11 months without pay and while on leave. Those years were considered towards Shai's military pension, Army Radio reported.
Shai was well known as the nation's calming voice during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, addressing and reassuring the country's citizens who were holed up in sealed rooms while Saddam Hussein lobbed missiles into Israel.
Both Shai and the IDF insist the pension he receives is within regulations and permitted by law.
"Every decision regarding my service in the IDF was received with permission and authorization by certified IDF bodies," Shai told Israel Radio.
The Army Radio report cited military sources as saying that while Shai's pension is completely legal, such financial arrangements are no longer possible and were not widespread in the past. While the amount of the pension is not known, Shai's rank of brigadier general would allow for a generous pension.
Director of the Movement for Free Information, Roi Peled, who requested a number of months ago that the IDF supply the organization with specifics of the pension arrangement, told the station that "this is the type of arrangement that a system like the IDF likes to keep quiet, because there is no way to justify it to the public."
Peled added that "the army must legally provide a report revealing how much the public is paying for this arrangement."