Israeli lawmakers seek raise for conscribed soldiers

Feb. 8, 2014 at 5:29 PM
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JERUSALEM, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A group of Israeli lawmakers has proposed raising the pittance salary given to members of the nation's compulsory military ranks.

At present, soldiers who do not perform combat duties make just 400 shekels ($110) per month. The amount doubles for soldiers in combat zones.

By law, all Israeli men must serve three years in the military and women two years when they turn 18. That means parents are on the hook for underwriting their children's finances while they're in the army, Ynetnews said.

While the military provides meals, the meager wages aren't enough to buy even the most basic items, let alone fund a social life for young people.

The issue may be resolved if a group of lawmakers succeed in transferring responsibility for paying soldiers from the military budget to the nation's treasury.

Military leaders have long said they don't have enough money in the budget to raise conscripted soldiers' pay and meet the nation's defense needs.

"The living expenses that soldiers get today is insulting. At the moment we are taking advantage of their service," lawmaker Elazar Stern said.

Noting that it would cost several hundred million shekels per year to remedy the problem, he said it was a small price to pay.

"So what?" he asked. "These are the nation's soldiers."

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