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Salaries of senior executives in government companies will be limited to NIS 40,000 a month, 10 times the minimum wage, if a bill that passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset Wednesday becomes law. Eighteen MKs voted for the bill, sponsored by MK Dani Yatom (Labor). There were no nay votes or abstentions.

Yatom's move follows MK Shelly Yachimovich's proposal to limit the highest salaries at all public firms to 50 times the lowest wage paid to their employees.

The cabinet supported the move after Yatom promised that it would not apply to nonprofit organizations. Separate regulations will apply to NGOs for all new contracts. Yatom also agreed to remove the punishment section from his bill: 10 months in jail for overpaying.

The salary cap would apply to all state-supported bodies, not just government companies.

"The proposed law would reduce gaps between senior and junior [employees] in the public sector," explained Yatom. "It is proper that in a state-owned company, where the salaries of senior officials is paid by taxpayers, that the salary norms of the civil service apply to them too."

The Knesset also gave preliminary approval to a law requiring local authorities to use only energy-saving light bulbs.