Israel’s public servants are there to serve the public, but they aren’t doing too bad for themselves. As the 21st Knesset was sworn in Tuesday, the plenum released the conditions under which its 120 members will be working – and according to an estimate by Maariv, Israelis are paying up to NIS 1.8 million per Knesset member annually for the privilege of having them as representatives.
In January, members of the outgoing Knesset voted themselves a pay raise of 3.5%, making the monthly salary of an MK NIS 45,000 a month. MKs who head a Knesset committee will get an additional NIS 1,500 a month. Besides the salary, each MK is eligible for a car, with a driver, as well as an office in the Knesset building, with 2 or 3 parliamentary assistants, based on seniority. If an MK lives outside Yerushalayim, they are eligible for a fully-funded office near their place of residence, with parliamentary assistants there as well.
With that, MKs need to be in the Knesset to do their work – so those living out of town are eligible for overnight stays at Yerushalayim hotels (up to four nights a week) while the Knesset is in session. MKs are also eligible for a budget that they can use to communicate with constituents of NIS 90,000 a year; money that remains at the end of the year from that budget rolls over to the following year. In addition, MKs are eligible for several trips abroad each year, to meet with Jewish communities or officials abroad, or for “fact-finding” missions. If those “facts” happen to be in places like Hawaii, then Israeli taxpayers will be funding that mission – although perhaps not so enthusiastically, the report added.