Daily Israel Report

Out of Touch? Knesset Gets Clothing Stipend Amidst Fiscal Crunch

Israel's lawmakers will receive a clothing stipend of 4018 NIS in July as committee discusses increasing salaries and pensions.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/1/2011, 7:45 PM

Knesset
Knesset
Flash 90

As Israelis continue to demand lawmakers act to mitigate the country's high cost of living, heavy tax burden, and housing shortage the Knesset received an additional clothing allowance of 4018 NIS in July.

The clothing allowance is in addition to parliamentarian’s salary as an automatic increase in executive pay, which includes ministers and deputy ministers.

Knesset members salaries are some 34,000 NIS per month - four times that of the average Israeli private sector worker - without additional benefits like the clothing stipend announced today.

Knesset spokesman, Yotam Yakir, said of the increase "it is not unusual in both private and public sectors for there to be incremental increases."

Yotam did not bother to specify such increases are only common for senior executives and that most Israelis never receive such increases.

Opposition leaders busy championing the plight of Israel's common man as protests over the country's high cost of living, heavy tax burden, and housing crisis continue will be better dressed for the fight.

More Increases Ahead

After a heated discussion in April the House Committee voted to establish a special team headed by MK Meir Shitrit, which will discuss increasing salaries and pensions of Members of Knesset , and will examine increasing the number of parliamentary assistants and the benefits they deserve.

Many Knesset members complain they receive low wages in relation to the salaries of other senior public service officials. In addition, MKs are seeking to bring their pensions into line with those received by senior public officials.

The growing wage gap in Israel, where average Israelis in the private sector find themselves struggling to make ends meet while executives, lawmakers, government workers, and public officials remain well ahead of the economic curve is one of the driving concerns of the coming election cycle.