Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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1 Kislev 5760 - November 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shinui Opposes Benign Bill Just to Spite Chareidim

by Eliezer Rauchberger

Last week Rabbi Moshe Gafni's proposal to exempt public institutions from capital gains tax on inheritances passed the Knesset with a majority of eleven votes. Four Knesset members opposed the bill, all of them from Tommy Lapid's Shinui Party. Rabbi Gafni noted, "The behavior of the members of Shinui proves that this party has fascist and racist leanings."

According to the existing law, a public institution receiving assets from donations or estates is required to pay capital gains tax when selling these assets. In contrast, a private citizen receiving such assets as inheritance is exempt from paying this tax when he sells it.

The intent of Rabbi Gafni's proposal is to exempt public institutions from the capital gains tax, simply equating them to private individuals who are not required to pay taxes on the sale of inherited assets.

Among the Shinui members opposing the proposal was MK Mody Zandberg, who had supported a similar proposal in the previous Knesset when he represented Tzomet. The Shinui members' vote against the law seemed unrelated to its content, especially since the Government had proposed a similar law in the past so that it could not be termed a chareidi law. Their opposition apparently stemmed from the fact that the law was proposed by a chareidi.

Later, when MK Yehudit Naot of Shinui raised her own proposal, MK Rabbi Gafni opposed it, although he was actually in favor of it. In his remarks, he pointed to the manner in which the Shinui members had voted on his proposal.

"I have been in the Knesset for three terms," Rabbi Gafni said, "and have never seen such a thing. Most of the work in the Knesset focuses on specific issues. Most of the laws which I presented concerned social issues. They pertained to all citizens of the country and there was a consensus regarding them. But then a new party entered, and all Shinui members together, voted against a law I raised. Why? Because it was raised by a chareidi Knesset member. That's the reason. Even Mody Zandberg voted for it in the previous Knesset, and today he voted against it because he is in Tommy Lapid's party."

MK Tommy Lapid did not contradict Rabbi Gafni's assessment.

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