Likud MK: Cut police chief’s salary, give Netanyahu raise
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Likud MK: Cut police chief’s salary, give Netanyahu raise

Proposal by David Amsalem rejected by prime minister; police source links it to corruption probes

Raoul Wootliff covers politics, corruption and crime for The Times of Israel.

Likud MK David Amsalem and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich attend a committee meeting in the Knesset on October 31, 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud MK David Amsalem and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich attend a committee meeting in the Knesset on October 31, 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Likud MK David Amsalem on Wednesday proposed raising the salary of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to surpass the earnings of top police officials, in a suggestion subsequently rejected by Israel’s premier.

Speaking to the Hadashot TV news outlet (formerly Channel 2), Amsalem noted the discrepancy between the prime minister’s monthly wages and those of Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.

“The police commissioner receives NIS 97,400 [per month] and a [entry level] police officer receives NIS 6,000,” said Amsalem. “So if he [Alsheich] would receive NIS 40,000 and he [the police officer] receives NIS 10,000, that isn’t better? That doesn’t sound more fair?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on October 29, 2017. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool/Flash90)

“If I were the police commissioner, I wouldn’t take NIS 100,000, my conscience wouldn’t allow it,” said Amsalem.

The Likud lawmaker also said he sought a raise for his party leader and prime minister through legislation.

The call to bump his salary and reduce the salaries of other top officials was promptly dismissed by Netanyahu.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu very much respects MK David Amsalem, but on the subject of salaries, he does not share his opinion,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said. “The prime minister does not think there is a need to change the prime minister’s salary or the salaries of other officials.”

According to figures presented by the TV report, the prime minister earns NIS 48,815 ($13,900) a month, compared to NIS 84,400 ($24,000) for the IDF chief of staff, the police commissioner’s monthly wage of NIS 82,700 ($23,500), and the president of the Supreme Court’s earnings of NIS 92,973 ($26,400).

It was not immediately clear why Amsalem quoted an inflated figure for Alsheich.

An unnamed police official on Wednesday slammed the proposal, linking it to the investigations into Netanyahu.

“This is a coordinated and orchestrated campaign against the police and its senior officers,” the unnamed source told the TV station. “The timing of this campaign is closely tied to the sensitive cases being investigated now by police.”

Amsalem’s call was the latest in a string of attempts by the Likud MK to rein in the police, accused by some in Netanyahu’s party of carrying out a witch hunt against the premier.

Earlier on Wednesday, lawmakers advanced Amsalem’s bill that would ban police from giving state prosecutors their opinion on lodging criminal charges against suspects in its preliminary reading.

Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheich seen with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a welcoming ceremony held in Alsheich’s honor in Jerusalem, on December 03, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Amsalem had also proposed a bill granting serving prime ministers immunity from corruption investigations. Despite threats from Likud lawmakers to bring down the government if that bill was not advanced, the proposal has now been temporarily taken off the table amid coalition disagreements.

Amsalem’s efforts come as Netanyahu is being investigated in two cases.

Case 1000 relates to allegations that Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, received illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

The prime minister denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

A third case, regarding alleged corruption surrounding the purchase of submarines from a German firm, has ensnared a number of people near Netanyahu, but the prime minister is not a suspect.

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