MK: Cut Off NII Payments to Wealthy Israelis

View of the National Insurance Institute in Jerusalem. November 21, 2013. Photo by Meital Cohen/FLASH90
View of the National Insurance Institute in Yerushalayim. (Meital Cohen/Flash90)

Why do wealthy people in Israel receive transfer payments, like National Insurance payments and the like? Because such payments are a universal right, and are not subject to an income test – but maybe they should be, believes Kulanu MK Eli Alalouf, who is authoring a law to do just that.

According to the law, despite the fact that wealthy Israelis paid into the National Insurance system, they would not get anything out of it if they earned or had saved up too much money. Speaking to the Knesset Channel, Alalouf said that “we cannot afford to continue the luxury of giving money to people who don’t need it. Wealthy people should not get retirement pensions, child payments and the like. They have enough money of their own to fund these things.”

Alalouf is also the chairperson of the Knesset Labor Committee, and he expects to bring up the subject to his fellow MKs on the committee this week and draw up a list of recommendations for legislation. Within months, payments could be pegged to income, and “that would be the right thing to do,” he said.

Alalouf would grant a high limit for the point where payments would be eliminated, or at least reduced – about NIS 20,000, he said. He added that he had consulted with the heads of the National Insurance Institute about the idea. As National Insurance is not a form of Social Security, and does not have anything to do with the payments made over the years – meaning that individuals do not have an “account” where their payments are “saved,” even in theory – Alalouf anticipates no legal issues to passing the legislation.