Reservists say law to cut their city taxes not implemented

The request to give reservists a five percent discount on municipal taxes was first made 7 years ago. A law granting that request three months ago has not yet been implemented.

Vehicles drive on a highway in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv December 17, 2013.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Vehicles drive on a highway in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv December 17, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF reservists say the Interior Ministry has failed to grant them the tax breaks they were promised under a law passed three months ago.
The law, signed by Interior Minister Arye Deri in June, calls for active reservists to receive a 5% reduction on their municipal property taxes.
“The government promised reservists something, and they [the reservists] are very upset that it hasn’t come to pass. The reservists do their duty without any questions,” Col. (res.) Avi Sayag, chairman of an association of Israeli reservists, told The Jerusalem Post.
Sayag blamed the delay of implementation on the bureaucracy of the Interior Ministry.
“I hope it’s not politically related, but a reservist doesn’t care about bureaucracy either,” he said. “We aren’t asking to cancel the arnona [municipal property taxes], but give us the 5% discount. With that, at least the soldiers will feel that the government respects them.”
The Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Sayag said his association, which has some 12,000 members, first approached the interior minister requesting the 5% discount seven years ago and, although the interior minister accepted the request, it was later denied by then-finance minister Yuval Steinitz.
It was brought up again last year and, following months of discussions by lawmakers, a series of government decisions in favor of Israelis serving in the reserves were passed, including the discount on municipal taxes.
“We will make noise in any way possible, legal of course, in order for this to come to pass. I believe it will happen, there is no reason why it can’t,” Sayag said.
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi) told the Post the ministry has “formulated a basket of benefits for reservists to express our appreciation to reservists and their families. The municipal property tax is a significant component and we will not give up. We will continue to work together with the various government ministries until it is approved.”
In late June, a new wage agreement for reservists who are independently employed was signed between the National Insurance Institute, the Defense Ministry and the IDF that will see the wages of independent army reservists to increase 25% and, according to a senior officer, the IDF will pay independent reservists backpay from January 2016.
“In the end, it’s all about the individual. That’s an important aspect that cannot be forgotten,” the senior officer said.
“We [the IDF] want everyone to support the reservist. We must have the country behind them.”