Israeli Cabinet Ministers Get a Handsome Raise

Monthly salaries to be raised to 49,554 shekels ($14,575) for ministers and 44,223 shekels for MKs; move met with protest by those recalling suspended payments for disabled people

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman at the PM's office in Jerusalem.
Ronen Zvulun/ Reuters

The Finance Committee on Monday approved linking the salary of ministers and deputy minsters to the average salary in Israel.

Ministerial salaries until now have been linked to the consumer price index, but evidently that wasnt enough for them. Some of them asked the Finance Committee chairman, MK Moshe Gafni, to address the issue. They saw their colleagues – MKs and judges – getting raises based on the average salary in the country, and drew their conclusions. Low inflation in recent years has made such linkage virtually meaningless.

The move, approved by a 4-3 margin, raises monthly salaries to 49,554 shekels ($14,575) for ministers and 44,223 shekels for MKs. Salaries of deputy ministers will be the same as MKs salaries in 2018, then be adjusted in 2019 to the level of ministers.

MKs Miki Rosenthal, Yael German and Ilan Gilon voted against the measure.

Raising ministers salaries comes at a point when one of the issues in the never-ending struggle over raising entitlement payments for the disabled touches on the question of whether to link these payments to the consumer price index or to the average Israeli salary. Labor and Welfare Minister Haim Katz failed to show up on Sunday at a meeting with groups representing the disabled, claiming at the last minute that the budget division was trying to avoid linking disability payments to the average wage.

The government was much quicker to resolve the same issue for the ministers, who have seen salaries rise much faster than inflation in recent years.

I brought raising ministers salaries to a vote because the situation is unacceptable, Gafni said. I said two years ago that we must reach agreement about linking ministers salaries to the average salary in the country – weighting the index. However, the finance minister didnt give anything in discussions between the treasury and the judges about raising salaries.

He said the different linkages meant MKs may earn more than ministers with the next adjustment, calling it an outrageous injustice.