On the 20/11/2013 a hearing was held in the High Court of Justice in relation to the petition concerning the maintenance payments of conscripted soldiers (HCJ 5799/12 Lorch and Others v. Ministry of Defense and Others).
During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioners argued that the current maintenance payment should be raised to an amount that will satisfy the basic needs of a conscript soldier and that clear criteria should be established to determine the monetary amount of the maintenance payments.
In its response to the petitioners, the State argued that the purpose and nature of the maintenance payments arise out of the interpretation of the Security Service Law 1986, which establishes the duty to serve in the IDF. The State also noted that in January 2014 the maintenance payments rate was to be increased in line with the Consumer Price Index, from the date of the last update.
In the hearing the Judges clarified that, as was set out in the State’s written response to the petition, the starting point of the analysis of soldiers’ compensation is the Security Service Law, which establishes the obligation of military service without any requirement for accompanying compensation. Accordingly, no claim for additional compensation or to change the nature of the compensation granted to conscript soldiers can currently be heard in Court. The Judges added that the purpose of the maintenance payment was to be used as “pocket money” for soldiers.
In light of the above, the Judges noted that their inclination was to dismiss the petition, and recommended to the petitioners’ counsel to consider whether he wishes to continue with the petition, in light of the Judges’ position.
Following the Court’s instructions, the petitioners decided to withdraw the petition, except in relation to the request to order the State to establish criteria for determining the amount of the maintenance payments being made.
Taking into account the above, the Supreme Court decided that the State should submit further comments regarding the criteria for determining the monetary amount of maintenance payments.