Property taxes will be doubled for owners of empty homes in big cities, according to a regulation authorized by the Knesset Finance Committee Monday.

The double tax is meant to encourage property owners to rent out or sell the empty homes, of which there are 47,000, help solve the housing crisis and get rid of "ghost town" neighborhoods within big cities.

An apartment will be considered empty if it is not used for nine months in a row or in total in a tax year. The new tax regulation will apply as of January 1, 2014.

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