(photo credit: )
The government on Sunday approved recommendations for the organization of the residential rights of members of kibbutzim and moshavim.
In its recommendations, the committee said, it tried to strike a balance between ensuring a fair allocation of the state's assets, allowing for a renewal of agricultural communities, many of which have aging populations, and not causing an increase in out-of-town commerce at the expense of the city.
Under proposals drawn up by the Haber Committee - named after Treasury budgets director Kobi Haber, who headed the working group - farmers would be able to acquire the leaseholds to the land on which they live at 33 percent of its total value and receive the full rights that a city dweller receives. Alternatively, they would be able to pay 3.75% of the value and receive a cancellation of some of the building restrictions that were placed on the land but not the full benefits.
It's proposed that, the size of the residential area would be 2.5 dunams per homestead on moshavim and two dunams per member family on kibbutzim, with residents of both types of farm being allowed to build housing units of up to 375 square meters.
Moshav residents also would be able to use up to 500 square meters of land for non-agricultural commercial use but would have to pay for up to 91% of the value of the land, a finance ministry official explained.
The committee also recommended that members of agricultural communities not be forced to drop existing agreements they have with the state, although they would not, receive the benefits of moving over to the new agreements.
The recommendations will now be sent to the Israel Land Council for approval and, if received, should become law, since they don't need approval from the Knesset. Unless the proposals are challenged in the courts, as has happened to previous recommendations, this would end years of uncertainty regarding the status of this land.
Ehud Olmert, who, in addition to being Finance Minister is the minister responsible for the Israel Land Authority, set up the committee at the start of the year after previous recommendations were blocked by the attorney-general.