Knesset moves to grant PM tax exemptions for work-related expenses incurred in his private residence; bill’s author, MK Miki Zohar, asks the MKs to ‘put aside populism’ and focus on the essence of the law, saying a prime minister in Israel should receive a salary befitting of his post.

The Knesset approved a first reading overnight Monday of a bill proposal to amend Income Tax Ordinance rules that provide tax exemption for payments and services provided to the prime minister, and for work-related expenses incurred in his private residence, despite opposition strongly criticizing the amendment.

According to the bill, which is being sponsored by MK Miki Zohar (Likud), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be exempt from paying taxes on all payments and services and benefits provided by the State Treasury which relate to fulfillment of his professional duties. The state president already receives such exemptions.

PM Netanyahu (Photo: Yariv Katz)
PM Netanyahu (Photo: Yariv Katz)


If implemented, the bill would mean exemptions from taxes for the prime minister’s armored vehicle. Moreover, state finances would be used to fund expenses incurred at Netanyahu’s private residence in north Israel if they relate to work.

The bill also applies to former prime ministers or their next of kin.

If the bill clears all readings, approximately NIS 8,000 would be added to Netanyahu’s net monthly income, with an expected NIS 3,000 going on his vehicle and NIS 5,000 on his residence’s expenses.

“Income Tax Ordinance provides a tax exemption for payments, services and benefits paid or provided by the State Treasury to the state president in relation to the fulfillment of his duties as president,” an explanatory note of the bill states.

MK Miki Zohar (Likud) sponsoring the bill (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
MK Miki Zohar (Likud) sponsoring the bill (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


“It is being recommended that a similar exemption also be provided for payments for the prime minister as they relate to the fulfillment of his duties,” it adds.

Zohar asked during the Knesset plenary session, “Is there any objective person who is not motivated by hatred to the prime minister and his family who thinks that the prime minister’s monthly salary of NIS 13,000 ($3,600 approx) is reasonable?”

“There is no such person. People forget that others will come after this prime minster. They also cannot be paid (so little),” Zohar went on to say.

“Is it acceptable that the president receives those benefits and the prime minister does not?” the MK wondered.

“(This) bill proposal makes benefits given to the president and the prime minister equal. It ensures he receives a just salary, which is befitting of a prime minister,” Zohar explained.

“Try to put populism aside and focus on the essence of this bill. A prime minister in Israel should earn a fair salary no matter who he is,” the bill’s initiator opined.

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) slammed the bill proposal saying, “There are bills more important to the people of Israel that are in line waiting to be implemented, while bills concerning the prime minster are approved overnight.

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union)
MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union)


“Is this (providing the prime minster with tax exemptions) more important than our children? Than the disabled? Than our economy?” Hasson asked in anger.

“The most important thing is to give the prime minister benefits. It’s good my friend MK Miki Zohar has understood that Netanyahu won’t be prime minister forever, but for the sake of decency I would back this law after Netanyahu concludes his tenure,” the MK advised.

MK Mickey Rosenthal (Zionist Union) said that in principle he is favor of the law and does not think a prime minister should pay taxes for expenses related to his work.

However, Rosenthal added, “There is a complete confusion about the prime minister’s private expenses and his public ones.”

“The public funds are sacred. The prime minister’s public expenses, which the public should pay for, have to be completely separated from his personal ones,” the MK concluded.

As reported by Ynetnews