Fire damage in Halamish..
(photo credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)
The Tax Authority announced on Wednesday that two more communities which were damaged by November’s wildfires are entitled to state compensation due to deliberate arson.
“The residents of Moshav Beit Meir in the Jerusalem mountains and the village of Har Halutz in the Galilee are now entitled to compensation by the Tax Authority compensation fund in accordance with the state’s property tax law,” a representative of the Tax Authority told The Jerusalem Post. “We recognized these areas as affected by deliberate arson attacks, therefore even uninsured residents there will be compensated by the state.”
According to property tax law, the state will compensate citizens for direct and indirect property damages caused by hostile acts, war or terrorism, whether or not a citizen is privately insured. This law stood as the basis of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s promise to compensate each and every citizen whose property was lost or damaged as a result of the fire.
The Tax Authority published the first list of places whose residents are eligible for compensation by the state on November 30, and concluded that the majority of fires that blazed over the course of a week were the result of “deliberate and nationalistically motivated arson.”
However, the police disputed this ruling since most of the investigations are still ongoing and there are currently no arson suspects held by the police. The police concluded on November 30, that the two Palestinian suspects who were arrested on suspicion of setting the Beit Meir fire were in fact not responsible.
However, despite the disagreement between the Tax Authority and the police, the authority is insistent that all the cases declared by them as arson will remain such for compensation purposes.
“The police indicates to the authority which cases are suspected of arson, but it’s the compensation fund that dispenses the money. The property fund’s recommendations are based on the police reports, but the moment that the Tax Authority declares a place as eligible for compensation by the property tax law, those residents will be compensated, there’s no turning back,” the representative told the Post.
According to the representative, with the declaration of Beit Meir and Har Halutz as eligible, all the inhabited areas in Israel which were damaged by the wildfires are now covered by the state.
“More than a week ago we declared nine areas as eligible, and today we declared two more. Now with all the cases, the fires that happened were recognized by us [as eligible for compensation],” the representative said.