Eli Yishai 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Students, low-income earners and families with small children were the biggest
beneficiaries of municipal tax reforms announced by Interior Minister Eli Yishai
Under the reforms, which were based on the recommendations of
a committee led by former ministry director-general Dov Kahat, the income
threshold for families eligible for arnona discounts will increase by 25
Accredited nonprofit organizations and students living in
dormitories will be granted an across-the-board 66% municipal tax reduction,
while reserve soldiers will receive a 5% discount.
will be taken into account when calculating family concessions. Children under
the age of five will be counted twice, and families with handicapped individuals
will also be eligible for larger reductions. Payments to reserve soldiers,
higher education tutorial costs and tax-free scholarships will be deducted from
annual income when calculating concessions.
Yishai hailed the reforms as
a response to the demands of this summer’s socioeconomic protest movement,
saying they would benefit students, young couples, reserve soldiers and the
poorer sectors of society.
National Union of Israeli Students chairman
Itzik Shmuli also applauded the reforms, saying they would “be felt in the
pocket of every student, allowing us to save thousands of shekels each
However, Shahar Ilan, CEO of Hiddush-For Religious Freedom and
Equality, said the reforms greatly favored yeshiva students and religious
institutions, and constituted “a shameless robbery of the public
By increasing concessions to families with more children, and
allowing yeshiva scholarships to be taken into account when calculating
reductions, Yishai is essentially deciding that haredi municipal councils will
collect less taxes, and that taxpayers from non-haredi municipalities will fund
the deficit through balancing grants, Ilan said.
He added: “The time has
come to free the Interior Ministry from his [Yishai’s] hands before he does
further damage. The time has come to fix municipal tax concessions for
wage-earners and not for those who evade work.”