Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman Flash 90

The Ministerial Legislative Committee on Sunday approved a proposal by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) to cancel restrictions on the government grant given to demobilized IDF soldiers.

The army provides honorably discharged soldiers with a uniform one-time grant of 10,000 shekels ($2,840), along with a sum deposited in the soldier's bank account of as much as 30,000 shekels ($8,523), the specific amount depending on a soldier's unit and precise length of service.

While the uniform grants have no restrictions, the differential grant is currently limited to certain uses for a five-year period following a soldier's discharge.

The proposal would cancel all existing conditions for receiving the differential amount deposited in the soldier's account and every demobilized soldier would be able to use the money for whatever purposel he chooses without any restrictions.

The present law allows every demobilized soldier to withdraw the differential bank deposit during the first five years after his demobilization for five purposes only: higher education, the establishment of a business, purchasing an apartment, wedding expenses, and driving lessons.

After the five-year period a "window of opportunity" allows the deposit to be used for any purpose but at the end of this period the ex-soldier forfeits the deposit.

In the past, advocates of the reform argued that many soldiers did not use the deposits for the designated purposes and then ended up missing the "window of opportunity" to use the money as they wished.

The Treasury has opposed the proposal, as it has budgetary ramifications and requires a modification of cash flow estimates, but the ministerial committee decided to approve Liberman's proposal for a first reading in the Knesset.

The Treasury and Defense Ministry will work to reach an agreement regarding disbursement of the funds before the second and third readings of the law.

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