Religious Institutions and Talmudei Torah May Pay Real
by Eliezer Rauchberger
According to a recent decision by the Knesset Finance
Committee, synagogues, talmudei Torah and religious
institutions will have to pay real estate tax to the
municipal authority in which they are located. The decision
was reached in spite of the resolute opposition of the
chareidi representatives. This unfavorable decision has far-
reaching budgetary ramifications.
Five Knesset members from the coalition supported this
proposal presented by Finance Minister Beige Shochet. The
four Knesset members from the chareidi parties opposed it.
During the stormy deliberations, harsh words were exchanged
between secular and chareidi Knesset members. Rabbi Meir
Porush accused committee chairman Eli Goldshmidt of
discrimination. "You are discriminating between blood and
blood, between my child and yours," Rabbi Porush angrily
Rabbi Porush was infuriated over the fact that synagogues,
which until now have been exempt from land tax, will now be
forced to pay it, whereas churches and monasteries will
continue to be exempt. He also objected to the fact that
schools in the mamlachti stream will not have to pay
land tax since they are located in municipal buildings.
Talmudei Torah, on the other hand, are situated in
buildings built by the organizations themselves. Thus, the
government discriminates in both directions: by not building
them the buildings to which they should be entitled, and then
by taxing the schools they put up themselves.