Finance Minister Smotrich okays IDF pensions examinations


Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) on Wednesday authorized a new public committee on the structure of the IDF and the defense budget to examine IDF pensions.

He announced his approval in a letter to Likud MK Hanoch Milwidsky, who published it on his X account. The move followed repeated calls by Milwidsky.

“It cannot be that with a budget as we have and at a time like this, when we are all hurt [by the current financial situation], people with budgetary pensions will continue to enjoy the same benefits that are worth tens of billions of shekels per year,” Milwidsky said.

The committee is being formed as part of budget deliberations among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Smotrich, the letter stated.

“There is no doubt that the sharp increase in the defense budget, as it relates to the costs of the war and as it relates to the expected permanent budget increase in the next few years, mandates a change to our budgetary priorities in the IDF and defense budget as well [as in the rest of the state’s budget],” Smotrich wrote.

DEFENSE MINISTER Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich hold a joint news conference in Jerusalem, in December. (credit: CHAIM GOLDBEG/FLASH90)

Budgetary pensions

Budgetary pensions are paid from the budget of the employer to retirees who joined the public sector before 2002. Those eligible include police officers, Israel Prison Service employees, and teachers employed by the state. The budgetary pensions that Smotrich has authorized the committee to review are IDF pensions, with a specific focus on “chief of staff” increases and “bridge pensions,” the letter said.

The chief of staff increases are pension increases that the IDF chief can authorize.

Bridge pensions are paid to retired IDF officers until they reach state pension age, as professional IDF staff retire at an earlier age than the general age of retirement. Bridge pensions cover the gap in employment this creates.