Soldiers' pay rises sharply, but is still very low

January salary for combat soldiers will be NIS 1,606, or $408, up from NIS 1,077, or $275.

Gil Ronen,

Soldiers sleep (illustration)
Soldiers sleep (illustration)
Abir Sultan / Flash 90

Soldiers’ pay will dramatically increase starting with the salary for January, 2016, but will still be very low.

Combat soldiers will receive NIS 1,616, or $408, up from NIS 1,077, or $275. A soldier in a support unit will receive NIS 1,176 ($299) per month, up from NIS 784; and homefront soldiers will be paid NIS 840 ($214) per month instead of NIS 540.

The average salary in Israel is NIS 9,611 ($2,443).

Soldiers' salaries have always been considered something akin to a monthly allowance, rather than an actual salary. The rationale for this has been that the army pays for all their living expenses, and that Israel is a "poor country" with mandatory conscription that cannot afford to pay its soldiers market-level salaries.

This is only true of the enlisted soldiers, however. The IDF's professional corps, or Tzva Keva, is a completely different story, and its average salary is over NIS 12,000 ($3,050). Retirement takes place at the early age of 40.

Globes reported that the IDF Manpower Directorate stressed in its annual report that over the past two years, there has been a 130% increase in the living allowances paid out to enlisted soldiers.

Every fifth soldier required financial assistance aid provided to lone soldiers, soldiers with families, and soldiers in homefront units who receive special permissions to work beyond their hours with their units.

The data the IDF released showed 6,260 lone soldiers (soldiers without immediate family in Israel) served in its ranks during 2015. Of these, 27% serve in combat units, 25% in combat support and nearly half (48%) in homefront roles. More than a third of lone soldiers come from Europe, 24% are from the US, 12% were born in Russia, 12% are from African or South American nations and 17% are native Israelis.

Some 3,000 of the IDF soldiers requiring assistance receive family allowances. Of these, some 1,000 are haredi or religious.

Sources in the Manpower Directorate said the military intends to raise the salaries of young officers and NCOs ranked second lieutenant, lieutenant, and sergeant first class, many of whom currently decide to leave the IDF because of more lucrative jobs in the private sector.

In addition, the price of at least 40 basic products sold at army canteens and stores will be lowered. Goods to be sold at lower prices include hygiene products, clothing, and food.








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