Dov Lipman
Member of the 19th Knesset

Your government is about to waste your money

The likely reversal of a law limiting the number of ministers will cost taxpayers 100 million shekels

The Israeli government is on the verge of wasting your money – for nothing!

One of Yesh Atid’s proudest accomplishments during the nineteenth Knesset was the passage of the party’s legislation to prohibit the formation of a government with more than 18 ministers. We argued throughout the election campaign two years ago and throughout the debates and committee work for this law, that more than 18 ministers is a waste of the public’s money in order to simply provide Knesset members with promotions and the honor of serving as ministers. There is absolutely no need for more than 18 ministries and, in fact, aside from saving the country huge amounts of money, smaller government leads to more efficient governing.

Coalition discussions are underway and the Prime Minister finds himself with a real challenge on his hands. When you add the number of Knesset members from both his own Likud party and among the potential coalition partners who want to become ministers, the number is way beyond the 18 that the Yesh Atid law mandates. The solution? Change the law. Efforts are already being made to figure out a way to form the next government with as many as 24 ministers despite the existing law.

The cost of these additional ministers to the tax payers for a full term is approximately 100 million NIS.   Each minister is surrounded by 14 staff members including 6 advisors and personal assistants and is provided with a luxurious car and a personal driver. The total annual cost amounts to approximately 3.7 million NIS per minister. Thus, the addition of six ministers comes to approximately 22 million NIS.

What can the government do with 100 million NIS of taxpayer money during a four year term instead of spending it on Knesset members who want the honor and perks associated with being a minister?

100 million NIS could be used to build 250 small apartments for the weakest in society who have no place to live.

100 million NIS could be used to renovate 1,000 public housing units.

100 million NIS could be used to build 500 new classrooms to reduce overcrowding in schools.

100 million NIS could add 700 beds in our hospitals.

100 million NIS could be used to help hundreds of unemployed workers find jobs.

But, instead, that money – your money – will be used to enable Knesset members to enjoy sitting in a ministerial position.

For now, citizens cannot do anything about this and must sit back and watch this development unfold. However, when next elections come around, voters throughout Israel can and must do something about it. Hopefully, they will keep in mind the difference between those who are in office to serve the people and those who are in office to serve themselves.

About the Author
Dov Lipman was elected to the 19th Knesset in January 2013. He is the author of nine books about Judaism and Israel, and holds rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and a masters in education from Johns Hopkins University. He has been at the forefront of combating religious extremism in Israel and is a leader in efforts to create Jewish unity both in Israel and around the world. Former MK Lipman is invited to speak on behalf of the Jewish state both in Israel and around the world and serves as a political commentator for i24 News and ILTV. He is the founder and CEO of Yad L'Olim, an NGO that assists and advocates for Olim from around the world.