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The economic crisis may have affected Israelis from all strata of society, but one group is apparently immune from the financial downturn. Senior government officials, including the president, prime minister, judges, MKs, mayors and senior executives in government companies, among others, will all be enjoying big raises in January 2009, costing taxpayers tens of millions of shekels.

Senior officials will get different raises depending on what group they fall into. The first and smaller group of ministers, deputy ministers, ministry director generals and a few others have their salaries linked to inflation. If inflation reaches 4.8% in 2008, for example, a minister who now earns almost NIS 37,000 a month gross will see a NIS 1,772 raise.

Those whose salaries are linked to the average wage, such as President Shimon Peres, will get an approximately 3% raise. Peres' monthly salary would then rise by NIS 1,414 to about NIS 48,500 a month. This raise would also apply to MKs, judges and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, among many others.

The actual amount of the increase will only be known when the National Insurance Institute publishes its end of the year figures.