(May 2, 2019 / JNS) Nir Barkat, former mayor of Jerusalem and now a new Knesset member, has requested to have his salary cut to just one shekel a year.
Replacing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s wealthiest MK, Barkat wrote to Haim Avidor, the Knesset’s chief accountant: “After 10 years of serving as mayor of Jerusalem for the symbolic salary of one shekel per year, I ask to now set my salary as an elected representative in the Knesset at the same level of one shekel per year.
“It is a great privilege for me to serve the public without receiving anything in return, and I am certain that, just as it was possible at the Jerusalem Municipality, I will be able to continue to do so in my position as a member of Knesset.”
Barkat would have opted to receive no salary at all, but Avidor told incoming MKs that choosing not to be paid would create procedural problems for his office.
Forbes magazine estimated Barkat’s worth at $139 million in February. The second-wealthiest Knesset member, Netanyahu, is worth $13.9 million. Coming in third is Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay with at $8 million, followed by Likud Welfare Minister Haim Katz at $7.8 million.
Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid is worth $7 million, and former Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party, is worth $2.2 million, though will receive $5.6 million in pension funds by the time he turns 80.
Knesset members receive NIS 44,000 ($12,200) a month, minus taxes. MKs also receive severance pay.