The majority of Knesset members support a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to 30 shekels an hour ($8.68), up from the current 23.12 shekels an hour ($6.56). Among the supporters: all Hadash’s lawmakers. The proposal, initiated by Hadash MK Dov Khenin, has already received support from 2 million people online. The proposal was brought to the Knesset this week, and 61 Knesset members from both the coalition and the opposition signed on as initiators of the bill, which was
MK Khenin said the broad, cross-party support for the proposal indicated that MKs had heard the public’s call in favor of his proposal, which he publicized in the eve of May Day. Khenin took on the campaign after it was formulated by worker-rights and unions group Koach LaOvdim.
Israel’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the advanced capitalist countries. In the U.S., unions are working to boost minimum wage to $10 an hour, while in many states campaigns are in the works to raise it to at least $15. Next week, Switzerland is holding a referendum on raising its minimum wage to $25 an hour. “There’s no reason that in Israel so many workers should be under the poverty line,” said Khenin. “There’s no justification for people going to work from morning to evening and not being able to support their families. The scare tactics regarding attempts to raise the minimum wage are baseless. In 2006 [the last time the minimum wage was up for discussion] they also said that raising the wage would result in mass unemployment, but the opposite was the case − increasing the buying power of poorer workers increased economic activity.”