Knesset guard (Tess Scheflan)
A Knesset guard on duty. Photo by Tess Scheflan

The Knesset is moving to increase its own budget for 2011 by 10% to NIS 546 million, compared with NIS 496 million in 2010. The budget for 2012 will climb to NIS 543 million.

The proposal was passed by the Knesset budget committee. It now becomes a section of the national budget bill, which the Knesset should pass by year-end. In other words, the deed is all but done: If the budget is passed, which is probable, the increase in the Knesset budget will be law.

The Knesset budget committee consisted of members of the Finance Committee and the House Committee. Most of the budget increase is to carry out computerization and Internet projects and continue to renovate the Knesset building.

Broken down, the budget for wages and extras for Knesset members comes to NIS 112 million in 2011.

Of that, only NIS 50 million is wages for the parliamentarians. NIS 29 million is to pay their aides, NIS 12 million is to cover the cost of their communications with the public, and NIS 2.5 million is to cover the rental of dwellings and hotel rooms in Jerusalem for MKs who spend the night in the capital, but don't live there.

A sum of NIS 100,000 has been earmarked for their legal costs and NIS 120,000 for learning foreign languages.

And NIS 250,000 has been earmarked to cover the office costs of former Knesset speakers.

In 2011, NIS 730,000 will be used to cover catering at Knesset committee meetings, unchanged from 2010.

Laundry bills for the Knesset guard are provided for too: NIS 1.5 million a year.

The outlay on pensions for MKs rises NIS 1.8 million in 2011 to NIS 62 million.

The pay for Knesset aides is rising by 11%, almost half in 2011 and the rest in 2012. Aides gross between NIS 6,000 to NIS 12,000 a month.

The above amounts do not include NIS 81.5 million extra for a Knesset museum. The plan is to buy an existing building, part of which would serve as government offices and part as the museum.