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The chair of the Secondary School Teachers Association, Ran Erez, doesn't get to rest much. Haaretz has learned that Erez receives a monthly salary for 80 work hours per week: 70 hours for his job in the teachers' union and 10 hours for his work as a gym teacher at an Ashdod comprehensive school. That is the equivalent of two full-time positions, or working 15 hours a day Sunday through Thursday and five hours on Fridays. Erez also draws a pension from the Mivtachim fund, having taken early retirement in 1996.

For chairing the teachers' association, Erez is paid 175 percent - the equivalent of 70 hours a week, 56 of which he is required to spend in the office. His gross annual union salary comes to NIS 300,000.

So many hours of work for the teachers' association do not prevent Erez from teaching gym. At the start of this school year he informed the personnel department at the teachers' organization that he works at the school on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for a total of 15 weekly hours. Last year, Erez grossed NIS 50,000 for his work at the school.

In addition, his gross annual pension averaged NIS 100,000. Erez's gross annual income from all three sources averages NIS 450,000. This is many times the income of the teachers Erez represents. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported about a month ago that the average gross monthly salary for teachers is NIS 7,274 (some NIS 87,000 annually).

In 2003, Erez was interrogated by police on suspicion of receiving a salary for years from an Ashdod school despite never having worked there. That episode was exposed by Yedioth Ahronoth journalist Mordechai Gilat. The case was ultimately closed without pressing charges because, the Justice Ministry said at the time, it was impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had committed a crime leading to the overpayment.

Erez: All properly authorized

A list of questions addressed to Erez was referred by him to the law firm that represents the teachers' association. Regarding Erez's pension, attorney Sigal Pail stated that the reason he retired was "decreased enrollment at the school where he taught because of the opening of another school and the opening up of registration areas. As a result, the number of teaching hours there was reduced." According to Pail, Erez's request to take early retirement was approved by the Education Ministry. Today, Erez teaches at the same school from which he retired.

Contrary to Haaretz's information, Pail stated that Erez works at this Ashdod school 10 hours a week, on Sundays and Fridays only, and "is paid only for the hours he works at the place." Pail added that ministry memos authorize teachers who hold jobs with the teachers' organizations to be absent from work for the purpose of fulfilling their duties.

Pail confirmed that Erez is paid 175 percent for his job with the teachers' union, and added that the salaries of the teachers' association management are determined by the Teachers' Association Council at the beginning of each term.