Israel announced Tuesday a 50 percent pay increase for IDF soldiers from next year following criticism of the defense establishment over the troops' meager pay.
The defense and finance ministries' announcement came following a major public backlash against the military over the stagnation of salaries for low-ranking troops while the pensions of retired career officers get boosted on a regular basis.
“We are making a decision today that will bring justice to those who serve, a major boost that will have significance for the IDF’s force build-up and the continuation [of the military] as a people’s army,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.
This is the first pay increase for Israeli soldiers in over five years.
Israeli soldiers are technically not paid a salary, but receive "subsistence costs" which are much lower than the NIS 5,300 ($1,711) minimum wage.
Front-line units, which get paid the most, currently receive NIS 2,032 ($656) per month. Soldiers in administrative units receive a mere NIS 823 ($266) per month.
Following the pay increase, expected to go into effect January 2022, front-line units will receive NIS 3,048 ($984) and administrative units NIS 1,235 ($399).
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the pay raise was a “sign of appreciation and recognition for IDF service.”
“This decision exemplifies our responsibility and obligation as leaders toward those who contribute to the country and represents a change in the priorities that this government brings,” Liberman said.
In a message sent to soldiers, Israeli military Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi said, "We will continue to work to ensure proper conditions of service and proper remuneration for IDF soldiers and their servants."