Ministers' salaries reduced by 5%

Although many Israelis are tightening their belts due to salary cuts, they can now take comfort in the fact that the country's leadership is doing the same after the Knesset Finance Committee voted Monday to approve a 5 percent pay cut for government ministers - including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But if MK Uri Ariel (National Union) gets his way, the buck won't just stop there - Ariel has proposed that all MKs take a similar salary cut. Ariel called on MKs to cut their own salaries, and submitted his proposal to the Knesset Speaker's Committee, which was holding a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. He argued that the cut to MKs' salaries should also be 5%. "Even though this may not be a great saving for the Treasury, it would set a personal example for the kind of cutbacks that we all must endure in these days of recession and world economic crisis," explained Ariel. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) proved receptive to Ariel's proposal, calling on the House Committee to hold a hearing on the subject. Ariel explained that according to his calculations, the estimated savings to the country's wallet would total approximately NIS 2.5 million per year. MKs currently earn NIS 33,259 per month, and a 5% cut would reduce their salaries by NIS 1,492.