Hundreds of businesses across the State of Israel have pledged to offer 50% discounts to uniformed soldiers as part of the “Olive Green Pass” initiative, which was launched on Monday night by the popular Israeli nightly show Live at Night.
The new initiative is in response to a growing movement to raise the salaries of active-duty military personnel, some of whom are earning as little as NIS 1.20 per hour.
McDonald's, Israel’s largest food chain, has joined the fight and will offer soldiers a 50% discount on purchases over NIS 34. Popular restaurant chain “Burgers Bar” will offer the same 50% discount on purchases in the afternoon.
The initiative has also branched out beyond food products, as “Holmes Gym” will offer a 50% discount on annual memberships, while a Tel Aviv-based electrical warehouse will provide the same rate on its products.
"We are happy to join the fight,” said sales manager Michael Eliezer. “The soldiers are only getting part of the amount they need to get from the state."
Live at Night host Nadav Bornstein spearheaded the movement in advance of the ongoing Defense Ministry's annual budget discussions. He has been raising awareness about the low wages of Israeli soldiers since last May, when the show first reported on the paltry salaries of Israeli service members.
"We call on you – soldiers, family members and spectators – to [take a photo with] the hourly wage, and send it to us. The budget has not yet been passed; a change can still be made." Bornstein implored on his show last May, beginning a social media movement where soldiers would post photos protesting their inadequate wages.
A bill proposing to raise the salaries of conscripts to half of the minimum wage was presented earlier this month by Likud MK Eli Cohen. It lost by a vote of 48-53.