“The people of Israel are strong, and the enemy knows it too. We will do everything in our power to ensure the economic and security stability of the citizens of Israel in general and the residents of the South in particular,” Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said during an emergency discussion at his ministry.
The ministry’s top officials convened on Saturday night in order to examine and implement immediate aid measures for Israeli residents affected by the current conflict with Gaza.
Liberman has asked Israel Tax Authority (ITA) Director Eran Yaacov to evaluate the enactment of temporary regulations that would assist besieged settlement residents who have been instructed by the Home Front Command to stay at home for the last few days. Because they have been unable to travel to work, many of those residents have not been able to earn any money over the past week.
Over the weekend, employees of the Property Tax Compensation Fund visited rocket landing sites in order to assist citizens whose homes and property have been damaged, in order to determine how much those affected are entitled to receive.
In cases of direct damage, the ITA will finance alternative housing in a hotel or rented apartment, including transportation. Those whose homes have been damaged have the option of restoring the damaged house with a restoration company that works for the ITA, or through certain contractors.
The Tax Authority has also established a damage report web portal and hotline (*4954) for Ashkelon residents. So far, more than 100 people have reported damage, and the ITA expects at least another 50.
The amount of damage done following the initial wave of rockets from Gaza remains unclear. Several kibbutzim and moshavim have been closed and evacuated.
Lior, a resident of Kfar Aza, is one of many affected by the rocket exchange with Gaza. She and her family have been relocated by her kibbutz's emergency response team to Ginossar, a kibbutz near Tiberias, where they intend to stay through the current difficult period.
Prior to their evacuation, Lior had been required to work remotely – something that many Israelis (and workers around the world) are all too familiar with, though it takes a different tone in the context of sheltering from impending rocket strikes.
“It was fine, better than corona because kindergarten was open,” she joked, but conditions are rough. “I couldn’t even get to the end of an email [without sirens going off]. It’s crazy.”
Lior noted that she hasn’t yet heard from any government organizations regarding compensation. However, she noted that members of her company received compensation promptly following the last conflict, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, and expects things to unfold in a similar fashion this time.