The Knesset approved a record-breaking budget for itself on Tuesday of 717 million shekels, Globes reported.
A joint committee of the Knesset House and Finance Committees approved the increase from NIS 612 million to NIS 651 million in 2015, citing higher security costs, an expanded payroll, more parliamentary advisors and an enhanced retirement plan.
Security was the biggest item. Knesset director general Ronen Plot explained that “In view of the situation, it is necessary to reinforce guarding of certain MKs, and that costs money, including cars with armored protection.”
On the procurement list is an armored Skoda vehicle for 1.6 million shekel ($414,234), according to Knesset officer Brigadier General Yossi Griff.
In addition, Border Patrol officers will be armed with 70 new Glock pistols which they will be permitted to carry with them even while off duty.
Another reason for the increase is the Norwegian Law, which adds NIS 7 million to the Knesset budget. Under this law, one minister from each party can resign from the Knesset, enabling one more person from the party’s list to become an MK. Each new MK adds 1.3 million to the Knesset’s overall payroll.
An NIS 8-million retirement plan has also added to the budget. According to Plot, the benefits enjoyed by retirees are anchored in an order issued by the Civil Service Commission for public sector retirees.
Another NIS 13 million comes from approval of a law making the Knesset responsible for its former home, Frumin House, located nearby. The building will be renovated and converted into a museum. In addition, the Knesset kitchen, built 50 years ago, which prepares 1,000 portions a day for MKs and Knesset guests, will be renovated at a cost of NIS 13 million.