Business in Brief

IDF pension liabilities up 53% since 2011

The Israel Defense Forces’ pension liabilities are due to increase 53% between 2011 and 2014, based on the draft of the budget given to the Knesset this week. The IDF is to pay a record NIS 6.1 billion to its pensioners this year, and another NIS 6.8 billion in 2014, according to the budget draft. Next year, pension expenses will account for 13.3% of all defense spending − including U.S. funds. By comparison, in 2011 the IDF spent NIS 4.4 billion on its pensioners. Part of the reason for the rapid growth in pension liabilities is the 2012 decision to tie IDF pension payments to inflation, as opposed to defense establishment salaries, as had been done previously. In addition, pensioners were compensated for the change in the mechanism. The average career officer receives a pension of NIS 16,600 a month, and the average retirement age is currently 46. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Communications min. seeks to axe TV tax

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan apparently intends to do away with the much-hated television tax and to restructure Israel’s public television channel, say sources. Erdan reportedly met with senior industry sources who recommended that he shut down Channel 1 and build it anew, with only 250-350 employees, down from the current 2,000. The Broadcast Authority, which operates the station, would draw its budget from a slightly higher radio tax, in place of the television tax. The authority would operate on a budget of NIS 450 million, about half of its current budget, and would produce television programming of the same quality. ‏(Amitai Ziv‏)

Inspectors seize 30,000 eggs smuggled from Palestinian territories

Inspectors seized 30,000 eggs smuggled in from the Palestinian territories in Jerusalem on Wednesday, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The eggs were seized by ministry inspectors and the police, and then destroyed. This is the third time the suspect in the case, a man from East Jerusalem, has been caught allegedly smuggling eggs. He allegedly tried to hide the eggs in boxes that bore the Tambour company logo. The driver of the truck transporting the alleged smuggler and the eggs also has been caught by Agriculture Ministry inspectors in the past. The ministry forbids the sale of eggs produced outside Israel due to health concerns, including questions as to what temperature the eggs are stored at. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

Health minister to allow baby formula promotions in stores, but not maternity wards

Health Minister Yael German has reneged on plans to ban sales promoting formula to parents of babies under six months old, in the wake of an outcry. The parents fear that the new regulations, intended to encourage breastfeeding, would make formula more expensive. German published a clarification on Wednesday stating that she does not object to formula manufacturers launching sales in grocery stores, but is opposed to those targeting hospital maternity wards. Two days earlier, Prof. Itamar Gruto, head of the public health division at the ministry, sent a letter to Israel’s three formula brands − Similac, Materna and Nutrilon − ordering them to halt promotions targeting parents of children under six months. This includes prohibiting them from giving samples to pregnant women and gifts that encourage the use of formula. ‏(Ronny Linder-Ganz‏)
 

Emil Salman