In a rare concession, the Defense Ministry has agreed to drop a benefit for retired IDF career officers. The officers will no longer receive a special retirement bonus equivalent to their last 12 monthly salaries, and instead will receive the standard payouts in Israeli pension plans (a month’s salary for each year worked). The full annual salary was in addition to the standard payment.
The bonus was instituted in 2008, as compensation for the officers’ moving from a pension plan operated by the Ministry to a standard one operated by Israeli banks and insurance firms. With that, the Ministry refused to agree to another request of the Treasury – cutting the “bridge pension” of retired career officers, who are able to collect a pension as soon as they leave the army, from the time they retire until age 65, when they can begin drawing on their actual pension without tax penalties. However, the Defense Ministry did agree to limit those payments to about NIS 12,000 per month maximum.
The concessions mark one of the few times the Defense Ministry agreed to roll back benefits for retired officers. Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon has in the past criticized the Defense Ministry for overspending and wasting money. The Defense Ministry is by far the largest recipient of funds in the state budget.