Irregular salaries of almost NIS 2 billion were paid to top
officials in various public sector bodies in 1998, according
to a report this week released by Yuval Rachlevsky, the
Finance Ministry's wage director. The total cost to the
State, paid to a small group of well-compensated officials,
dwarfs the payments made to the entire chareidi sector.
The report covers all state-owned or state-funded
institutions including government companies, local
authorities, universities, the health system, the Ports
Authority, and the Israel Broadcasting Authority. 40 percent
of the 701 institutions examined paid excess wages or
pensions in 1998. This is down from over 50 percent of the
institutions in the previous year, but is still very high.
The high payments violate guidelines and wage agreements, but
in most cases they are not illegal and there is no action
that can be taken. The Finance Ministry set up a unit to
recover payments where it is possible, and last year it saved
the State some NIS 35 million, including liabilities, refunds
and salaries that were not paid.
Senior executives' salary costs were highest at Clalit Health
Services (formerly Kupat Cholim Clalit health fund), the
Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), and the Bank of Israel.
Clalit had 29 executives each costing NIS 54,923 (about
$13,500) per month, while the IEC had 191 in excess of NIS
45,000 and 258 over NIS 40,000. The central bank had eight
members whose salaries cost the government NIS 54,539.
The highest wage of all was paid to Yaakov Rosen,the deputy
director-general of the Israel Electric Corporation, who was
paid an average gross salary of NIS 54,957 per month. The
salary of his boss, the director-general of the company Rafi
Peled, was considerably less NIS 34,834 in 1998. The actual
wage is based on a combination factors including the
position, but also taking account of seniority and other
The six government-sponsored universities had 107 employees
earning anywhere from NIS 39,847 to NIS 49,137. At Bar-Ilan
University, the highest paying, senior officials' wages were
an average of NIS 49,137 a month in 1998. Following closely
behind were Tel Aviv University at NIS 47,928, the Weizmann
Institute at NIS 45,569, and the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem at NIS 43,779. All the universities paid salaries
in excess of civil service norms.
As a class, one of the worst offenders were the
municipalities. All told, 60% of them paid excess salaries.
Municipal corporations were slightly worse with 63% of them
paying too much. In this sector, the government can often
recover excess payments. The Cholon Municipality, for
example, will have to return NIS 700 thousand to the
government, Ramat Hasharon owes NIS 550,000, and Bat Yam --
whose nine most senior members garnered NIS 38,743 last year,
second among municipalities only to Tel Aviv -- NIS 400,000.
In addition, Bat Yam's city manager was ordered personally to
refund NIS 132,000.
The list of average salaries for regular employees was topped
by El Al employees (NIS 15,430 -- $3,850), followed closely
by Oil Refineries employees (NIS 15,439), and then workers at
the central bank (NIS 14,303) and Ports Authority (NIS
In contrast, the average gross monthly wage for all Israeli
employees was NIS 6,320 ($1,580) during the third quarter of
1999, the most recent figures available, according to the
December Central Bureau of Statistics report.
The IEC responded to the report by issuing a statement saying
that its workers are given the "important responsibility of
planning and establishing power stations to create
electricity." The statement added: "All senior members of the
IEC have academic degrees," and that many of senior employees
bear responsibility comparable to those borne by their
counterparts in the private sector, who earn much more.
A spokesman for the local authorities said that since an
agreement was signed between them and the Finance Ministry in
March 1999, there has been a definite trend towards reducing
the excesses. These were not reflected in the report which
covered only the year 1998.