Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Adar II 5760 - March 22, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Big Time Salaries in the Halls of Higher Education

by N. Ze'evi

For the first time in the history of the State, accountants will examine seven sport associations, according to an Itim news agency report. The associations to be investigated are: the Wingate Institute, the Olympic Committee, the Football Association, the Swimming Federation, the Athletics Association, the Handball Association and the Fund for outstanding Athletes. The investigation will be conducted by outside accountants who will examine the business dealing, the financial situation and the management of the accounts of these groups.

According to Minister of Science, Sport and Culture Matan Vilnai: "It is fitting and important that the accounts of associations funded by millions of shekels from the taxpayer's money, be available for public view." "As far as both their financial management and overall activities are concerned, and we must guarantee that they are conducted according to public standards and norms," Vilnai said.

Until now, no one has dared to raise the idea of checking various sport organizations. All attempts to investigate what goes on in these organizations would until now have been considered insulting.

Thus, while yeshivos and Torah institutions were constantly suspected of stealing from the public coffers, "cultural bodies" enjoyed unlimited, unreserved trust. Only the decision of the new Culture and Sport Minister--perhaps hoping to add some excitement to his boring job--has directed the public attention to the need to examine the goings on in these institutions.

Another interesting development in this area involves the disclosure of the huge salaries being paid to the heads of the country's schools of higher education.

The report on deviations in the salaries in public sectors made by Yuvel Rachelevski, Salary Commissioner for the Finance Ministry, revealed interesting facts of which the students should take note:

The monthly salary of a senior official in Bar Ilan University is on average NIS 49,137 a month. In other words the salary of such officials is paid by the tuition of 49 students.

Among the salaries of senior officials in the universities, that of the president of the Weizman Institute is the highest. He receives NIS 64,948 a month, while his assistants receive "only" NIS 48,897- NIS 53,383 a month.

The salary of one of the employees of the Weizman Institute, who is described as a "technician," is no less than NIS 48,167 a month. The president of Haifa University doesn't lag very much behind his colleague at Weizman, with a monthly salary of NIS 64,569. His two assistants receive NIS 59,946 and NIS 53,431 respectively. The Deans for advanced studies in Haifa University make do on a mere NIS 52,724, and the Rector receives NIS 51,538.

Spokesman of the universities explained that the salaries were approved by the Treasury and the Council for Higher Education. There was no attempt to justify the need for such high salaries at the expense of the state and the tuition of the students. It is needless to say that marbitzei Torah would never dream of taking such astronomic salaries.

In a similar vein, it has become clear that institutes of higher learning are employing a number of sophisticated "tricks" which make it appear as if they have adopted a series of pay cuts, when in actuality the salaries of their officials continue to rise.

According to Ha'aretz, in 1998, Tel Aviv University's internal comptroller received a basic monthly salary of NIS 26,144. This sparked a huge outcry. In response, the university cut in the comptroller's basic salary to NIS 10,727 a month--a not so negligible loss of NIS 16,000.

However, the comptroller isn't very concerned. Apparently, in 1998 he received NIS 8,899 a month for additional work (as opposed to nothing for corresponding work in 1997) as well as NIS 9,207 as a salary increment (as opposed to nothing 1997), NIS 943 for expenses (as opposed to nothing in 1997), NIS 791 for other increments (as opposed to NIS 591 in 1997).

All in all, the comptroller of the Tel Aviv University received in NIS 30,567 a month in 1998 (NIS 42,426 in the terms of the cost of the employers). In other words, after the "cuts," NIS 20,000 were added on to his salary in indirect ways, so that the cut of NIS 16,000 was covered over and above, and in the end he earned NIS 4,000 more than in 1997.

We shudder to think what would have happened if such a ruse had taken place in any sort of religious institution. The report, which the secular papers buried on the inside pages, would have served as material for a sensational scoop, as well as a cause for scathing parliamentary questions, and for an adamant demand to thoroughly investigate the illogical "salary sprees."

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