IDF combat soldiers to get 50% raise — to half of minimum wage
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IDF combat soldiers to get 50% raise — to half of minimum wage

Front-line troops to see their pay fattened to NIS 1,616 a month; non-combat personnel also get hike

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Illustrative: IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade during a late-night mission in the West Bank, October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers of the Givati Brigade during a late-night mission in the West Bank, October 7, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

The government approved Sunday a 50-percent raise in IDF soldiers’ salaries after months of discussions between the Defense and Finance ministries over the details of wage increases.

The pay hike is set to go into effect next month.

From January 2016, combat soldiers will see their monthly salaries rise from NIS 1,077 ($282.12) to NIS 1,616 ($423.30). Non-combat soldiers will receive NIS 1,176 ($308.05), compared to the NIS 784 ($205.37) they now receive.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was widespread support for the raises.

“I assume, and I am certain, that all ministers will praise the raising of the salary of IDF soldiers. It is necessary, right and correct,” he stated.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said the decision “corrects a long-standing injustice,” but hinted he would look to raise salaries even further.

“The supplement is significant — approximately 50% in one go,” he said. “It is still not enough, but we are on the right track. The step we have taken is a significant one.”

In addition to raising soldiers’ salaries, the Finance Ministry proposal included NIS 600 million ($157 million) a year to be invested in improving the basic conditions of conscript soldiers.

While the move represents a 50% rise across the board, soldiers will still earn less than half the minimum wage.

In March 2015, following an earlier decision by the Knesset, the Histadrut labor union and business groups agreed to raise the minimum wage in the private sector to NIS 4,650. The minimum salary is to be raised again by NIS 175 within 18 months, and a year later by another NIS 175, reaching NIS 5,000 ($1,260) by December 2017.

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