During recent deliberations, three High Court judges broadly
hinted to rulings they are about to issue in a number of
weeks regarding an appeal filed by the Left objecting to
criteria granting property tax discounts to large families.
The appellants claim that current criteria are
Judges Mishael Cheshin, Yitzchak Zamir and Dorit Beinish
deliberated on the appeal filed by the Am Chofshi NPO headed
by Yossi Paritzki from Shinui and Arnon Yekutieli, a member
of the Jerusalem Municipal Council.
According to Yekutieli, 60% of the chareidi families in
Jerusalem receive discounts of 80%-90% and the chareidim, who
constitute 30% of the city's population, contribute only 9.5%
of its total income from arnona.
The judges criticized these criteria and expressed their
personal opinion in respect to those criteria which have been
determined by the Internal Affairs Ministry. The regulations
determine that those receiving income subsidies from the
Religious Affairs Ministry also receive reductions in
property tax if they are avreichim occupied with full-
time Torah study. According to current regulations, the
reduction in property tax may be up to 70%; the Jerusalem
Municipality currently grants this reduction. The appellants
claim that according to regulations, income from National
Insurance children's allotments for the fourth child and up
are not taken into account in determining the discounts and,
as a result, many chareidi families receive a property tax
reduction to which they are not really entitled.
Justice Zamir said that this constitutes discrimination
between avreichim and university students. In
reference to the assertion by Judge Mishael Cheshin that the
original purpose of this regulation was to encourage large
families, he responded, "What does garbage collection and
street cleaning have to do with the encouragement of
By divulging their opinions on this issue, the judges have
more than hinted as to how they will rule on this appeal. The
decision will be issued in a few weeks.