Being Israel’s Prime Minister Pays Well – but Not After Taxes

A copy of Netanyahu’s February pay stub shows he took home only a third of his gross salary.

GPO

On the face of it, being prime minister of Israel looks like a good job -- interesting work, lots of perks, a free house and a relatively hefty monthly salary of 48,815 shekels ($12,526 a month).

But that’s before taxes.

A copy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pay stub for February released over his Twitter account on Tuesday showed that after income and health taxes and National Insurance Institute (social security) payments, his take-home pay was just 17,645 shekels. More was taken off for contributions to various savings programs, it showed.

That was still nearly twice the average before-tax salary in Israel, and the prime minster and his wife have virtually no private expenses, because the government covers their household costs, including repairs to their private home, clothes and travel. Still, it might seem paltry considering the long work week, and recently the government rejected a request that it cover the cost of dog food for the family pet.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it released his pay stub after receiving multiple requests, by whom it didn’t say. The PMO only released February but insisted there was nothing unusual about the big tax bite. In January, a spokesman said, Netanyahu’s net pay was actually slightly less – 17,546 shekels.

The prime minister paid income tax of 21,572 shekels, but 12,440 of that represented tax on the value of the car the government provides him. Netanyahu has use of an armored car with other accoutrements that makes it very expensive to operate. That value is taxed.

President Reuven Rivlin is exempt from income tax by law, including the costs of his government-issued car. Isaac Herzog, Zionist Union Party chairman, enjoys a 70% exemption on the value of the car as the head of the opposition.

The other items in the prime minister’s paycheck were more or less in line with what the average Israeli wage earner at that level would expect. National Insurance took 2,652 shekels and health insurance another 2,054 shekels. In addition, 1,187 shekels were taken as a contribution to his advanced-training fund (keren hishtalmut) and 2,374 shekels for his provident, two long-term savings schemes.