Northern cities to strike over reduced tax breaks

The Histadrut in the Western Galilee will join the strike, stopping work in factories in the area.

November 1, 2015 00:41
1 minute read.
A view of Upper Galilee from Mount Hillel with Mount Hermon in the background

A view of Upper Galilee from Mount Hillel with Mount Hermon in the background. (photo credit: MINISTRY OF TOURISM)


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Six cities in the Western Galilee plan to go on strike Sunday, because their tax breaks were reduced after the government changed the criteria for periphery towns to receive the benefits.

Acre, Nahariya , Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Mateh Asher, Kfar Vradim and Mizra plan to close all municipal services and schools, except for special education, for an unlimited amount of time.

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The Histadrut in the Western Galilee will join the strike, stopping work in factories in the area.

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni, with the support of coalition party leaders, changed the system of tax cuts for periphery towns from a map in which people north and south of certain points received the benefit, to one with different income criteria and varying levels of cuts.

The number of periphery towns and cities to receive tax breaks will increase from 192 to 407, based on new eligibility criteria. The budget for the expanded list will go up from NIS 850 million to NIS 1.2 billion.

The change will require residents of the Western Galilee who make NIS 11,000 or more to pay higher taxes and reduce the number of people eligible for tax breaks in Ma’alot-Tarshiha and Nahariya by two percentage points and in Acre by four.

Ma’alot-Tarshiha Mayor Shlomo Bohbot said on Friday that “in all of my years as [former] chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, I have never seen such opacity and disrespect, which sends the message that 100,000 residents of cities with a mission to settle the Galilee don’t matter to anyone.

“We are not asking for budgets for the local authorities.

We are talking about the future of settlement in the Western Galilee,” he added.

Bohbot accused Gafni of refusing to speak to the Western Galilee mayors, and said the government is behaving foolishly by investing over NIS 600m.

in infrastructure and neighborhoods, which he posited will be irrelevant in light of the government’s unwillingness to reduce income taxes by NIS 35m. “to save the economic future of the residents.”

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