Steinitz Aims to Raise Army Retirement Age

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz is expected to submit a plan to raise the retirement age for non-combat army career soldiers. He will submit his proposal to cabinet if discussions between the defense and finance ministries fail to produce a joint proposal by the end of the week.

Sources in the Finance Ministry said yesterday the chances of the defense and finance ministry teams reaching an agreement are very slim.

In addition, some 1,000 career army jobs (lawyers, tailors and the like) may be 'civilianized' - outsourced to civilians. The plan could save the defense system hundreds of millions of shekels in the first year, Steinitz says.

Steinitz has been pushing to raise the retirement age of career IDF personnel from 45 to 55-57 since he stepped up to his new job six months ago. The finance and defense ministry teams were scheduled to have come up with a plan weeks ago. Sources in the Finance Ministry say that cooperation from the Defense Ministry has been sketchy at best, and that data requested had been delayed or arrived after extended delays.

Steinitz recently advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the teams had failed to reach an agreement, and that he intends to submit his own proposal before the end of the year to ensure that it is implemented by the first half of 2010.