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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Killing Cash

Private citizens will be allowed cash transactions of up to NIS 15,000 and use of checks will also be restricted.
Cash transactions may be severely limited by this time next year, if the Prime Minister's Office has its way.

Cash transactions may be severely limited by this time next year, if the Prime Minister's Office has its way.
Photo Credit: Abir Sultan Flash 90

The Israeli government hopes to put the kabash on cash transactions, starting with a plan that places a ceiling on the amounts starting in fiscal 2015 budget.

The director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Harel Locker told journalists in a briefing at the beginning of this week the government plans to limit cash transactions between businesses to NIS 5,000 after a one-year period, with the initial phase to begin at just NIS 7,500. Private citizens will be allowed cash transactions of up to NIS 15,000. But if the legislation goes through, the use of checks will also be restricted.

The initiative is aimed at ending the “black economy” that operates in much of the country, Locker explained, adding that  money laundering has risen over the past two years. He pointed to some three million cash transactions, each of which was more than NIS 5,000, that totaled some NIS 273 billion since 2012, as proof that things have to change.

The government, said Locker, has instead decided to take a leaf from the American notebook and is recommending that banks issue debit cards, rather than the VISA and MasterCard credit cards they currently use.

Most Israelis do not carry out transactions for more than NIS 5,000, Locker contended, thus he said it is expected the new plan will not cause difficulties for most of the population.

Nice and tidy — but that may not be the case: newlyweds who are buying furniture and other necessities for new homes often make their purchases with the cash gifts they receive at their wedding. Those shopping sprees are seldom carried out for less than NIS 10,000 and often involve the use of cash for extra bonus points or discount savings.

Other special events and holiday sales also often involve cash purchases as well – a fact the government seems not to be taking into account. Although Locker said he expects approval of the new law by the end of 2014, it is likely there will be more than a few bumps along the way – probably after his colleagues’ spouses find they find they can no longer go shopping without the government getting in the way.

But mostly, this is about too much government intrusion into the private lives and transactions of its citizens, by a government which wants to, invasively, be able to more easily track its citizens down to the smallest detail.

What’s next? Our biometric data on file with the government?

 

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7 Responses to “Killing Cash”

  1. Stan Graham says:

    Is he kidding? A fully cashless society? Look out poor people!

  2. GR Real says:

    Smart – as formally worked in a bank the law states that we must monitor and report according transactions of cash deposits of a certain amount and typically money launderers know that limit and stay within a few dollars shy but if suspicious we can report it anyways to the FBI.

    Also, it is safer to carry plastic than cash in case of a mugging because you can always call and cancel the card unless taken hostage and being forced to use the card but now banks are smart in that they know your spending habits and if they see something off they will deny a transaction and attempt to contact you or vice versa to approve the transaction and also has daily limits on ATM withdrawals!

    Israel is smart – as far as our traditional weddings and holidays whereas cash is given by the Rabbe’s and family then one must go and deposit it and then go shopping.

    Not bad right?

  3. Judith Dowla says:

    Already in place in other countries to reduce coins as well as paper money and use only the debit and credit card. That would not work in all parts of the world for sure unless people there barter for goods as in days of yore. The Bitcoin has already got in trouble with the Silk Road and its trade in illicit drugs. By passing the banks and card system didn`t work for long. However, likely they will try to resolve this matter with other technology. Perchance a camel or donkey would work just as well.

  4. Uzi Kattan says:

    The Jews of Israel need less government intrusion in their lives not more. The bureaucracy and all the permits and licneses required are a nightmare which needs to be reduced not increased. This shows what a progressive Netanyahu really is.

  5. Judith Dowla says:

    Uzi, do you remember in the Jewish Bible where it mentions the days will come when a quart of oil will equal a man's wage for 1 day. And it was hinted at that the cost of living would increase for people as well. The times just before the Moshiach comes.

  6. Judith Dowla says:

    You are saying that the US monitors people's conversations and snoops into their bank accounts. The Privacy Act I do believe was changed during the time of George Bush Jr. I believe my sources are correct on this. Do you agree?

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Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.

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