The House vs the Speakers

Haim Oron (Meretz), the chairman of the Knesset Ethics Committee, and outspoken Knesset member Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), have found a common cause. They want the public to stop paying for a car and reimbursement expenses for former Speakers of the House, who are currently entitled to those perks for life.

They propose to pull the plug five years after a given Speaker retires, though they agree that the former dignitaries should be allowed travel costs for life.

On average, a leased car for a former Speaker costs NIS 5,000 a month. It depends how much use he makes of the car, but on average that's NIS 60,000 a year.

 Cars for the six living ex-Speakers cost NIS 260,000 a year.

The House Committee called a debate on the issue, but then the committee chairmwoman, Ruhama Avraham, postponed it from today to some other time, so meanwhile facts could be collated.

Oron feels that Speakers should be treated  like former presidents and prime ministers, who keep most of their privileges - offices, aides, cars, costs and so on - for five years.

Oron is clearly worried that if Speakers get to keep their "company cars" for life, then prime ministers and presidents will want it too.

Shelly Yachimovich said that the privilege for former speakers is anti-egalitarian and Knesset legal counsel Nurit Elstein concurred.