Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi
Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi Basel Awidat/Flash90

With elections yet again on the horizon and coalition negotiations a predictable consequence, politicians and pundits alike will be focusing on the demands made by various parties in return for their agreement to make commitments and compromises. Coalition agreements have long included promises for funding for the various parties signed up, as was true last year when the now failed government formed.

What voters may not remember come November is that this February, the government almost collapsed over the question of funding for IDF pensions, which Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz stubbornly insisted on pushing forward despite the opposition of several of his coalition colleagues. At question were 1.1 billion shekels to be added to the budget for IDF officers' pensions, following legislation passed in August that permitted the IDF Chief of Staff to increase future pension rates for officers currently serving by as much as 11 percent, based on their length of service.

Ultimately, a compromise was reached and the legislation is apparently still stalled in committee stage after passing its first reading. The issue is likely to be revisited in future coalition negotiations.

Meanwhile, according to a report in Globes, the State of Israel’s commitment to people with unfunded pensions has topped one trillion shekels. The precise figure owed stands at NIS 1,014 billion as of the end of 2021, an increase of 90 million shekels from the previous year, with almost forty percent of this debt owed to IDF veterans.

A perusal of the report released by the Accountant General reveals that 38 percent of the pension debt is due to be paid out to veterans of the defense establishment, including some NIS 389 billion owed to career soldiers.

A further 29 percent is owed to teachers and lecturers, 18 percent to police and prison service officers, and 14 percent to public sector officials.

Among former defense establishment workers, 25 percent receive monthly pensions below NIS 8,814. Half receive more than NIS 12,838, and the remaining 25 percent receive over NIS 17,707 per month.