Knesset Hikes Shimon Peres' Overseas Travel Budget

President Shimon Peres' overseas travel budget has been increased by NIS 2.4 million to NIS 6.5 million for the year. The Knesset Finance Committee voted yesterday to transfer unused funds from the president's 2009 budget to his 2010 budget. In fact, the committee spent one hour and 45 minutes transferring NIS 5 billion in such funds for all government ministries. Knesset members put their hands up and down quite quickly in voting on the 160 pages of budget requests and transfers.

Security for ministers will cost taxpayers NIS 105 million this year after the committee added another NIS 14 million - NIS 3.5 million per minister on average Much of the extra funds for the president's office will go to former presidents. Former president Moshe Katsav, now on trial for rape, will be getting another NIS 83,000, bringing his 2010 budget to NIS 1.58 million.

The committee added NIS 237,000 for the office of MK Lea Nass, deputy minister for pensioner affairs, and an additional NIS 97,000 for the office of Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen, for a total of NIS 1.65 million this year.