IDF Soldiers' Pensions More Than Double the Civil-service Average, Says Ministry

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Israel Defense Forces career soldiers who retired in 2012 received pensions averaging 2.5 times higher than other civil servants, Finance Ministry data shows.

The soldiers on average retire at age 46 with monthly pensions of NIS 16,600. In contrast, other civil servants on average retire at 63 with NIS 6,800 a month.

Education Ministry employee receive average pensions of NIS 5,300, while the police and prison service pensioners get on average NIS 10,900. Employees of the secret services get the highest pensions, averaging NIS 17,000, but work until age 56.

Civil servants' pensions are a percentage of their final salaries, which increase every year they work.

Career soldiers can earn pensions worth up to 76 percent of their final salaries, in contrast to other civil servants who can only accumulate pensions of up to 70 percent. This is because regular army service is also taken into account, adding three years, gaining them another 2 percent per year. Also, pilots, underwater commandos and paratroopers add 3 percent to their pensions for every year of service, rather than the standard 2 percent.

In the current Economic Arrangements Bill, which accompanies the budget, several suggestions were made for decreasing IDF pensions. According to the Finance Ministry budget department, Israel's liabilities due to civil servants' pensions total NIS 675 billion 60 percent of which is for Defense Ministry employees. NIS 188 billion is for current employees.

The IDF changed the way it calculates pensions in 2004. But soldiers who committed to permanent service before 2004 still qualify for the old system.

In response to request for comment, the IDF spokesperson said, "The data presented is biased and unrepresentative, and we have no intention to argue with its sources, who present a partial picture."

The Economic Arrangements Bill suggests eliminating IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz's discretion over pensions.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkowitz

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