Bar-Ilan Professor Was Top Earner in Public Sector in 2015

But doctors captured nine of top 10 places and outsized pay was common at many other institutions as well

The Bar-Ilan University campus in Ramat Gan.
Tomer Appelbaum

Doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and at Kupat Holim Clalit accounted for one of the 10 highest salaries in the public sector in 2015, but for a change they didn’t capture the No. 1 spot, the treasury said Thursday.

An unnamed member of the Bar-Ilan University law faculty – but revealed earlier by TheMarker to be Prof. Gideon Parchomovsky – won the top spot after receiving a one-time compensation package in 2015 of 3 million shekels ($830,000).

On top of his regular salary, he also received bonuses promised to him as a returning academic from the United States more than a decade ago. The treasury wage commissioner, who released the pay report, said it would never have approved a package for so much money but since it was promised so long ago Parchomovsky would not be asked to repay it.

The report showed that 96 of the top 100 wage earners in the public sector were employed in the healthcare system, but Ichilov was a particular standout, accounting for eight of the top 10 earners.

Ichilov Director General Prof. Roni Gamzu, who had been critical of what he called a “pay race” between state hospitals to hire star doctors when he was Health Ministry director general, defended his institution’s compensation practices on Thursday by saying others hid their high pay by funneling it through limited liability companies set up by doctors.

“Many other hospitals – and I say this with caution – have a system whereby they pay doctors through ‘wallet companies,’” he explained. “The doctor doesn’t get a salary – they pay his company. It reduces the employer’s costs and for doctors it’s better from a tax perspective.”

The treasury wage report revealed that at Israel Electric Corporation, the state power monopoly, one out of every five employees, a total of 2,771, earned more than 35,000 shekels a month in 2015 – about 3.7 times the average wage nationwide that year.

At the top of the list was IEC Chairman Yiftah Ron Tal, whose pay was 82,300 shekels a month. Right behind him was Oren Halman, vice president for regulatory and government affairs, with a gross salary of 76,000 shekels. Halman has only been at the post for five years but succeeded in getting a bigger pay package than more veteran vice presidents or the CEO.

At Israel’s state-owned ports, one out of every three workers – a total of 403 – earned more than 35,000 shekels a month. At Haifa Port the average gross pay was 29,300 a month and at Ashdod Port 30,100, the highest average among state-owned companies.

At Israel Railways, where the average gross wage in 2015 was 19,400 shekels, the combined salary costs reached 873 million shekels, nearly 100 million more than the state-owned company took in from ticket sales. More than 125 of its 3,100 workforce earned in excess of 35,000 a month.