Despite vocal opposition from the bench and the government's own opposition, broad budget cuts affected all government ministries approved Sunday by the cabinet to finance increases in salaries and pensions for the country's security services.
Extensive cuts, worth NIS 22 billion over two decades, will finance increases in salaries and pensions for police officers, prison guards and non-military security service employees, including the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) and Mossad, who have long complained of inferior conditions in relation with those who serve at the IDF.
"This is good news for police officers, retired police, prison services, Shin Bet and Mossad, who are dedicated to protecting the security of the country. This is news they have long been hoping for," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The agreement states that starting in January 2019, all retirees will receive a full wage supplement for their current salary.
Also starting from January 2019, police officers who are currently working and prison guards will receive supplements in two installments. Starting in January 2020, the approved supplements will be paid in full to all eligible individuals.
In addition, it was agreed that NIS 7 billion retroactive payments, to cover payments due from 2006 onwards, will be paid in installments for 17 years (2019-2035) to ease the economic and treasury burden. , with preferences given to retirees with an emphasis on elderly retirees.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who was at the forefront of the battle for the police said: "I am proud to stand today, once again, at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of police, prison guards and retirees. After two months of intensive negotiations and after 13 years of withholding wages, the government today approved a fair and binding decision to equalize their conditions with the conditions of career soldiers. "
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"This is an amendment to historical injustice that has no justification," he continued. "The government's decision since the 1970s requires that the salaries of the police and prison guards be equaled to those of career soldiers, and three Labor Courts recognize this."
Erdan also said that "anyone who refers to important decisions about police and prison guards as political considerations lies … Negotiations between them take place before election problems arise."
Deputy Minister of Health Yes & # 39; acov Litzman (UTJ) criticized the cabinet's decision.
"This is a serious decision that will seriously endanger the health of Israeli citizens," Litzman said. "I strongly protested to the prime minister and other ministers for the expected cuts and I explained that it could lead to the destruction of the health system in Israel."
Ahead of the vote, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel warned of major damage to Israeli agriculture if cuts were approved.
"Agricultural needs are increasing. After heavy cuts in the water supply for agriculture, I will not let the agricultural industry be beaten once again," Ariel said.
"I will not allow any deductions to endanger Israeli farmers or agricultural research, which are at the forefront of global agriculture. Of course, Israeli citizens will also be harmed if the Department of Agriculture's budget is cut."
The leader of the Zionist Union, Avi Gabbay, condemned the agreement.
"The government has made 'lateral cutting' for all, without priority, the government which can be replaced by a Casio calculator," Gabbay said. "It is possible to change, to form a bold government that determines priorities and places in the peak life itself, identifies problems and takes action."
In a statement issued before the vote, police said that in recent years it had been struggling, along with the Ministry of Public Security, to implement the government's decision to close the gap between salaries and pensions received by IDF career soldiers and officers and police. officers and prison guards, who first benefited from superior conditions.
"In the context of the struggle to remedy the 13-year injustice in the form of wage deductions, three different courts from the Labor Court have decided and acknowledged the rights of the police and retirees to receive these supplements because they are by law," the statement said. "Among other things, the court said: & # 39; the Ministry of Finance has implemented policies that conflict with government decisions without the authority to do so," and that "the Ministry of Finance has been acting for years in this context. & # 39;"
"It should be noted that the police did not have the right to strike or organize with the aim of increasing their salary requirements and in general, and the decision to equalize wages was given at that time as compensation for laws that revoked the police from this is true," the statement continued.
Recently, police, police, the Ministry of Public Security and representatives from the Ministry of Finance reached a compromise agreement that would include distribution of payments due to police and retirees for years, "a situation that can be avoided if supplements are paid on time and regularly."
The police also slammed people who linked agreements with elections, "sometimes with unacceptable insults on tens of thousands of police and retirees who have served and defended Israelis for decades, when in practice the timetable for compensation came from court decisions "
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