Interior Ministry Director-General Oscar Abu Razek issued a
decision to require yeshivos gedolos with students
over the age of 18 to pay local authorities full property
taxes (arnona) on space used for dormitories.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Rabbi Uri Maklev and Bnei Brak Deputy
Mayor Rabbi Avrohom Rubinstein asked MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni to
intervene in the matter.
Torah institutions with students over the age of 18 have
always been eligible for the same exemption given to
mandatory educational institutions (with students under the
age of 18), but a few months ago a directive was issued to
local authorities to collect property taxes in full from
Torah institutions with students over the age of 18.
The directive appears to be highly discriminatory since non-
government associations of every kind are generally eligible
for a two-thirds discount on property taxes, in accordance
with certain criteria. Furthermore Torah institutions are
defined not only as NGOs but as public institutions as
Although universities cannot operate as NGOs they also
receive the two-thirds discount under a special directive
that covers all institutions under the Council for Higher
Several weeks ago yeshivas were notified that only their
study areas would be exempt, meaning full taxes would be
levied on dormitories, offices and other areas of the
yeshiva. Rabbi Gafni is now working with Rabbi Maklev and
Rabbi Rubinstein to prevent this financial blow from landing
on the yeshivas, which already face financial difficulties.
Rabbi Gafni is trying to alter the decision under the
Arrangements Law for next year's national budget. Betzedek
has also been asked to address the matter as soon as possible
and to turn to judicial figures to alter the decision.