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August 20, 2013

Dozens Of State-Funded Rabbis Earn More Than 500,000 Shekels Annually; Many Do Little, If Any Work

Israeli FlagFor the past 53 years Rabbi Meshumar Tzuberi, the rabbi of Gan Yavneh (about 22,000 residents), has headed the list. According the financial report of his religious council his salary is NIS 928,843 a year. He is followed by Rabbi Yehuda Stern from the West Bank settlement of Elkana (about 3,800 residents) with NIS 765,377 a year, and after him Rabbi David Abuhatzeira from Yavneh (33,000 residents) with NIS 724,343. Rabbi Itzhak Halevy from the settlement of Karnei Shomron (about 6,500 residents) costs the taxpayer NIS 688,171 annually. In communities such as Rosh Pina, Elyachin, Azor, Even Yehudah, Kiryat Motzkin and others, the salary of the rabbis is clearly inflated relative to the meager amount of activity reported in the financial reports, in other words, the actual activity that they perform in the areas of marriage registration, kashrut, burial, eruvs and more.

At today's exchange rate, one New Israeli Shekel equals 28 US cents. Therefore Rabbi Meshumar Tzuberi earns $260,764 annually in state salary – plus anything else he may earn providing illegal private religious services or from teaching.

Ha'aretz reports:

…Dozens of municipal and community rabbis…each cost the taxpayer over half a million shekels annually. Some of those same rabbis apparently work very hard for the community in which they live, but even that doesn't necessarily prove their necessity.

Dozens of the rabbis with official positions are superfluous, even according to the minister of religious services, who declared his desire to eliminate them. Some of those same rabbis are responsible for small communities of only 2,000 inhabitants, and it's not clear how many of those inhabitants even require the services of a government-appointed rabbi. Not all the rabbis are meticulous about living in the communities where they are supposed to live. In some of those communities there is no hevra kadisha (burial society) and no kashrut certificates are issued. Some of those same rabbis have little activity to document in their official reports, and yet they themselves bring home handsome sums. It should be noted that some of the rabbis earn money simultaneously — sometimes at a very handsome salary — from Jewish studies institutes that they run. And we still haven't mentioned the extra — and prohibited — income that was also pointed out by the state comptroller in his most recent report: that received by municipal rabbis for performing weddings.

A glance at the rabbis' salary figures is possible thanks to the financial reports of the religious councils themselves, rather than to the work of a politically biased organization. The website of the Religious Services Ministry publishes the reports, including the most updated data — for 2011.

For the past 53 years Rabbi Meshumar Tzuberi, the rabbi of Gan Yavneh (about 22,000 residents), has headed the list. According the financial report of his religious council his salary is NIS 928,843 a year. He is followed by Rabbi Yehuda Stern from the West Bank settlement of Elkana (about 3,800 residents) with NIS 765,377 a year, and after him Rabbi David Abuhatzeira from Yavneh (33,000 residents) with NIS 724,343. Rabbi Itzhak Halevy from the settlement of Karnei Shomron (about 6,500 residents) costs the taxpayer NIS 688,171 annually. In communities such as Rosh Pina, Elyachin, Azor, Even Yehudah, Kiryat Motzkin and others, the salary of the rabbis is clearly inflated relative to the meager amount of activity reported in the financial reports, in other words, the actual activity that they perform in the areas of marriage registration, kashrut, burial, eruvs and more.

A municipal or community rabbi in effect has a lifetime appointment. In all the communities it is customary that the rabbi does not resign unless he himself chooses to do so, but in most cases the moment of resignation is the moment of death. Rabbis continue to serve even after retirement age, for the most part with a salary but sometimes on a voluntary basis. In a discussion in the Knesset Finance Committee about a year and a half ago, it turned out that in Israel there are about 150 community rabbis, and about 60 percent of them continue to serve although they are past the age of 75.

The Religious Services Ministry has determined a key for rabbis' salaries, according to seniority, the size of the community and their rabbinical degrees, but historical arrangements have created a chaotic and totally disproportionate system. In the past the salaries of the municipal rabbis was linked to that of the head of the municipal authority, or of ministers (in the case of the big cities), but the salary has undergone significant vicissitudes that have created differences in status among the municipal rabbis. Alongside the veterans who were appointed 30 years ago and earlier, and can earn tens of thousands of shekels a month, some of the rabbis who were appointed in the past decade earn only about NIS 7,500 a month. They have called in recent years to narrow the gap relative to the veteran rabbis, which was the reason at the time for the special session in the Knesset Finance Committee.…

Comments

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How can they marry people if nobody meets their stringent standards, i.e. prove you've been Haredi centuries before Haredis were invented?

To quote the great scholar and commentator, Michayel Roykovitsky, author of Balabus: Ubi est mea?

I think the state of Israel must stop paying rabbis' salaries, pronto. Let their communities pay them what they are worth. It is time to end this infernal corruption. At a time when more and more Israeli families are struggling to make ends meet this kind of largesse is nauseating.

500,000 NIS is about $140,000 US. Nice work if you can get it. If Israel had to pay for its own defense without US subsidies, it might think twice about these ridiculous rabbinical subsidies, as well as its other religious subsidies to Haredi "scholars". Where are the Republicans when all of this waste, fraud and abuse is going on? Not a peep out of Senator Lindsay Graham.

Well the Rabbis do have to set an example to their followers don't they? The "Rabbis" need to show that they don't work as an example to their followers who don't work. If they Rabbis worked then chas v'shalom, their followers might be expected to work as well.

Too bad Paul Newman isn't there to protect them (as he protected the children's settlement "Gan Yavneh" in the movie "Exodus").

RWisler: It was Gan Dafna.

LOL, let them be otherwise they'll come to Amerika, and get food stamps, etc.

My You g Israel Rabbi makes over $ 150 for a synagogue with less than 600 families. Life time contract They have offered him more but he won't take it this decade.

The Rabbi of Gan Yavne has a big job he has a Nuclear reactor in his community. A lot of chametz to burn on Pessach.

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