On Wednesday, January 21, in a stormy, election-season session in which politicians lobbed at one another mutual accusations over attempts to take credit for the popular measure, the Knesset approved a bill to raise the minimum wage in Israel. MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) responded with satisfaction to the Knesset’s passing of the minimum wage bill, which he initiated almost a year ago. The bill, approved in committee and in its three mandatory readings during marathon sessions, will increase the minimum wage incrementally from its current NIS 4,300 a month to NIS 4,650 in April of this year, to NIS 4,825 July 2016, and to NIS 5,000 at the start of 2017.
MK Khenin, who initiated legislation to increase the minimum wage to NIS 30 an hour (NIS 5,300 a month) last year, also accused the neo-liberal and extreme right-wing Israeli government of taking credit for measures which, in fact, it had previously opposed. “They told us that instituting such an increase would be a disaster and would have severe economic repercussions. That’s what all those who are today boasting about the increase said back then,” responded Khenin, promising to continue the fight for an increase to NIS 30 an hour.
According to Khenin, “This is probably the last piece of legislation to be enacted by the 19th Knesset. This Knesset has done a number of terrible things, but I’m both happy and proud that this, its last law, is one for which I led the fight during the past year.” He continued: “It’s good that the upcoming elections actually forced all those members of the Knesset, who warned that raising salaries would harm the economy, to connect for a moment with the reality and poverty of hundreds of thousands of workers in Israel.”
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