Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Wednesday Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to conduct negotiations with retired police officers regarding their pension conditions and to present the results to the government within 45 days.
Netanyahu's instruction came after Erdan had informed him that no negotiations have taken place between the retired police officers and the Ministry of Finance.
Several dozen retired security service employees broke Wednesday into the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem to protest against a government resolution that would discriminate between the salaries of the police and Israel Prison Service's (IPS) pensioners, and those of IDF's career soldiers.
A riot soon developed, and a curfew was declared. Ministers were asked to keep away from the entrance, and enter the building through the Interior Ministry office.
As a result, a cabinet meeting scheduled to take place at the Prime Minister's Office, was held at the Interior Ministry Office instead.
All security guard at the Prime Minister's Office left their posts to chase down the demonstrators, while office employees were asked to lock all classified material.
The retired police officers even broke into the inner courtyard of the Prime Minister's Office. The office’s employees who were inside during the riot, lashed out at the police for not sending reinforcements.
"This is a major security failure. They have been here for some 45 minutes, and the police are not sending additional forces to disperse the protesters. The security guards instructed the employees with the megaphone to lock themselves in the rooms and keep classified documents safe. The prime minister and the public security minister are stranded inside the office and cannot leave. It’s a disgrace," an office employee lamented,
The Border Police were called to the scene, which prompted the demonstrators to shout: “Kahlon, go home!”
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office, the "Prime Minister’s Office Security Officer Aviad Feigin, filed an official complaint with the Israel Police following the disturbance and break-in to the grounds of the Prime Minister’s Office. He demanded that the Israel Police investigate the matter immediately and take all measures to bring to justice those involved in the break-in and those who broke the law during the demonstration.
Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan addressed the issue at the cabinet meeting.
"On the one hand, I condemn all violence …There is no room for forced entry into the Prime Minister's Office. This is a serious act of violence. On the other hand, the government meeting today deals with a painful issue that concerns pensioners, police officers and prison guards—they have been subjected to a very severe injustice," Erden stated.
Police retirees and the IPS decided to protest against the Finance Ministry's intention to submit a proposal during a government meeting that would exclude police officers, prison guards, and pensioners from additional payments and would perpetuate a situation where police officers are discriminated against.
The payments in question have been transferred to career soldiers and IDF reservists for the past 12 years, yet police retirees and retired prison guards have been excluded from receiving those payments.
The protestors demand to equate the salaries of policemen and prison guards serving in the army, including pensioners, to the salaries of the IDF's career soldiers.