Flames rise after a rocket attack in Sderot, near the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border, November 12, 2018.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Residents and business owners in southern Israel affected by recent escalations of violence on the Gaza border stand to benefit from improved compensation measures, which were presented by the Tax Authority at the Knesset’s Finance Committee on Tuesday.
“We are part of a reality in which there are two days of hard fighting, and then a ceasefire, and then a return to routine,” said MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), chair of the Finance Committee, ahead of the meeting. “But in reality, business owners, workers and residents suffer financial collapse, not just for two days but total collapse. We thank them for their strong stand against terror, but we must act and return to them what they have lost, so that they can make progress for all of us.”
Tourism operators, business owners, parents forced to be absent from work and beekeepers are those who will benefit from the improved compensation regulations proposed.
The compensation will cover losses suffered between May and the end of the year as a result of the recent escalation, including ongoing arson attacks, and regular clashes on the Gaza border
Under the new regulations, tourism-related businesses, including guest house owners – in all communities subject to Home Front Command orders – will be compensated based on a comparison of business revenues during the corresponding period of 2017.
Other business owners will be compensated according to salaries that they would have earned on days when they were forced to close.
An additional measure will provide wages to those parents forced to stay home from work, following the closure of schools by Home Front Command.
Gaza border communities are also home to many of Israel’s leading honey producers, including Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. All beekepers living within seven kilometers of the Gaza border will be compensated for direct damage, caused by burnt land, and indirect damage, such as large drops in honey yields.
“We are working at an advanced stage on the regulations relating from May until the end of the year,” said Miri Savyon, senior deputy director general of the Tax Authority.
“We will bring the new version in the coming days. It became evident as the situation deteriorated that it would be necessary to respond to indirect damages. Now a decision has been reached by the finance minister and the Tax Authority director-general to adapt the regulations to the current situation.”
While noting that the proposals reflected a significant improvement when compared to the existing regulations, Gafni was not satisfied by their reach.
“Why are half of the communities in the region outside the compensation map and every time have to fight for [their rights to be compensated] again? Will Hamas distinguish between adjacent communities next time?” said Gafni.
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