Reservists' benefits package approved

Reserve soldiers would get discounts on income tax, mortgages, licensing fees and sporting events.

artillery reservesoldier (photo credit: IDF)
artillery reservesoldier
(photo credit: IDF)
Income tax cuts, discounts for sporting events and passport application fees are just some of the benefits IDF reservists will begin to enjoy from after they were approved on Sunday by an interministerial committee led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The benefits, which will be offered to Israelis who serve at least 10 days a year in active reserve duty, are valued at hundreds of millions of shekels and will be financed by various government ministries and not just the Defense Ministry. "The entire government is responsible for taking care of the IDF reservists," said Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i, who spearheaded the project together with MOD Dir.-Gen. Pinchas Buchris. The main benefit is a cut in income tax and is the equivalent of two tax points in correspondence with the number of days served annually. NIS 200 million has been set aside for 2008 and another NIS 450 million up until 2010. Defense and Treasury officials will meet in the coming days to decide whose budget the money will come from. Other benefits include a 50 percent discount in fees when applying for a passport, weapons license and identity card and no payment when applying for a driver's license; a 25 percent discount when applying for a pilot's license and preference when applying for a professional truck or cab license. Students will also benefit from special scholarships and reservists will also get preference when applying for a tender with the Israel Lands Administration. The Tourism Ministry is offering a list of discounts for vacations in Israel, the Interior Ministry is offering a 50 percent discount on entrance fees to public beaches and the Sports, Culture and Science Ministry is offering discounts in the price of sporting event tickets.