Soldiers Demand Immediate Pay Increases from Defense Minister

The organization "A Warm Home for Every Soldier" issued a biting letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on Sunday, Channel 2 reported, demanding he immediately dole out funding for pay increases to current and incoming soldiers. 

According to Israel's new budget, NIS 700 million is to be allocated for wage increases of IDF soldiers, but Ya'alon has announced his intentions to only give the soldiers the extra money after their release. 

"I appeal to you to immediately cancel your request to the transfer the budget funds for deposit [after release], but rather to raise the wages of regular troops from the first day of their drafts," the organization's CEO, Shifrah Shahar, wrote to Ya'alon. 

"Every year thousands of soldiers are forced to leave combat roles because they need to work to pay off debts accumulated during military service. Many thousands more are absent from service because of financial threats hovering over their heads. These defections bring them into the ranks of prison and eventually many of them are discharged from service."

"It is very surprising to me," Shahar continued, "that you want to shift the budget devoted to maintaining the most basic existence of regular troops for something considered a 'luxury' for the tens of thousands struggling to survive from their first day of military service."

Shahar then praised Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who, she argued, understands the needs of active IDF soldiers and would like to provide them with higher monthly salaries. 

Condemning Ya'alon's "shocking" position, Shahar argued that to only provide additional funding to soldiers after their release from mandatory service would "violate [their] dignity and livelihoods."

"We demand that 100% of the money allocated for the benefits of conscripts be given immediately to soldiers for their basic existence and welfare from the first day of their military service."


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