Amram Kalaji
Amram Kalaji Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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The cabinet yesterday approved the appointment of Amram Kalaji as Interior Ministry director general. Kalaji, 67, held the position from 1991 to 1996. In its recommendation, the appointments committee of the Civil Service Commission cited Kalaji's "long years of experience and the fact that he served previously as Interior Ministry director general, and as chairman of the National Planning and Building Council." He also served as chairman of the committee appointed to run the all-Bedouin Abu Basma Regional Council, in the Negev.

In 2003 Haaretz reported that Kalaji continued to receive his full wage and benefits package after ending his first term as ministry director general - including a gross monthly salary of NIS 31,000 - by dint of his position at the National Planning and Building Council. The council convenes on a monthly basis only, meriting compensation for a few days of work every month, at the most. The post traditionally was filled by the director general of the Interior Ministry, as was the case with Kalaji when he held that office in the '90s.

Kalaji continued to collect his director-general's compensation package - including a government car and chauffeur, free phone and pension plan - until 2004. That year, the positions of Interior Ministry director general and national zoning council chairman were combined once again.

Kalaji said yesterday that in continuing to chair the council after leaving the director general position, he was merely following the precedent set by his predecessor, Haim Kubersky. Kalaji added that the arrangement was approved by the Civil Service Commission.

Interior Ministry officials said in 2003 that the Civil Service Commission approved Kalaji's compensation package as chairman of the zoning agency.