web analytics
April 29, 2016 / 21 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Finance Ministry’

Jerusalem Declares War on Israeli Govt. with Garbage Trucks and Psalms

Monday, November 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) Hundreds of municipal employees of the City of Jerusalem are planing to demonstrate on Monday morning in the Israeli Government Complex with 50 garbage trucks and dozens of municipal vehicles, following the announcement of budget cuts planned by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Army radio reported. Treasury officials are unafraid, declaring, “We will continue to advance the city.”

The Jerusalem municipality appears committed to a fight to the bitter end against the Finance Minister. A letter sent to Kahlon by the capital’s administration warns that the cuts he proposes would result in hundreds of kindergartens losing their security personnel. The full list includes dramatic cuts in education, welfare and culture.

The Finance Ministry is outraged by this campaign of Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, and Treasury officials are expected to meet Monday morning with the Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin to push back the attack on their decisions, even as the City’s protest continues downstairs.

Barkat posted on his Facebook page a call to “the Treasury and its leader” accusing them of forgetting Jerusalem, paraphrasing the Psalm verses (137:5-6), Barkat said Kahlon et al “forgot thee, O Jerusalem, forgot their right hand, and their tongue cleaves to the roof of their mouth, because they did not raise Jerusalem above their greatest joy.”

Where else but in Israel would a mayor and a minister conduct their open warfare using both garbage trucks and biblical verses?

“We have come today to protest the abandonment of Jerusalem,” Barkat proclaimed, “to sound the voice and the opposition of the people to the finance minister’s unprecedented refusal to transfer the funds necessary for the existence and strengthening of our capital city.”

Finance Ministry officials said in an angry response that “apparently Nir Barkat’s Jerusalem municipality suffers from serious managerial problems, otherwise there is no explanation to how they’ve wasted the $500,000 allocated to them in recent years. The Ministry of Finance will continue to develop and advance the city along with Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin.”

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yael Antebi told Army Radio that “as member of Knesset, Kahlon promoted a law to increase the grants allocated to the capital. What happened [to his commitment] when it is now in his hands? Did it evaporate, like his promise to take care of the gas monopoly?”

Candidate Moshe Kahlon promised voters to resolve the disputes surrounding the best way to utilize the vast natural gas reserves off Israel’s shores—but after he was elected, Finance Minister Kahlon recused himself from dealing with the issue altogether, citing a personal relationship with the parties involved.

JNi.Media

Gasoline Prices to Drop by Nearly 5 Percent

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The government once again is preventing Israeli motorists from enjoying the full effect of the plunging price of oil and will limit the drop in the price at the pump to 25 agorot midnight Monday.

A hike in the excise tax will rake in another 5 agorot a liter for the Finance Ministry.

The new price of 95 octane will be 6.05 shekels at self-service stations, but discounts often are available at several stations run by smaller companies.

The price of oil has dropped by nearly 20 percent since last month, but the shekel-dollar rate has risen by 2 percent.

The government adjusts the price of gasoline at the pump at the of every month, ostensibly to prevent gasoline companies from charging too much money

In effect, the price control actually guarantees the companies a fat profit, which explains why discount stations cut the rate even further and still make lots of money.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Follows US Lead on Hunting Citizens’ Foreign Assets

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Israelis who have not filled out forms for declaring their assets to the Israel Tax Authority and have unreported overseas bank accounts are being targeted, Globes reports, in ways mirroring the methods of the IRS and U.S. Treasury.

In an agreement reached between Israel’s Finance Ministry and the United States more than a year ago, the Israel Tax Authority agreed to report the accounts of U.S. citizens in Israel to the IRS. In exchange, the IRS agreed it “may” report on income in the accounts of Israelis in the United States.

The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) for “improving global tax enforcement” requires banks in dozens of foreign countries to collect and share private financial information about millions of Americans living and working outside the U.S.

Tens of thousands of Americans who came on aliyah fall into this category, and have since been warned by their banks they must fill out an annual IRS W-9 and “FBAR” (Foreign Bank Account Report.)

“The U.S. sent a delegation here, which examined our systems and information security and was very impressed,” said Israel Tax Authority head Moshe Asher in a speech this week to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP.)

Asher told participants at a business conference this week to expect more arrests of Israelis with unreported overseas assets.

According to the Tax Authority, there are Israelis who are holding an estimated NIS 50 billion in concealed capital in unreported accounts around the world. And after starting a war on illegal capital, Asher commented that the Tax Authority has already raised income tax revenue by NIS 3.5 billion over projected forecasts since the beginning of the year.

“Switzerland was once the world’s safe deposit box from which no information could be extracted,” Asher said.

But, “they have been forthcoming recently, even if in contravention of Swiss law… Inroads have been made in Swiss banking confidentiality – it’s like any other country now, subject to conventions and obligated to provide information.

“Secrecy is over: the world has become more transparent and much smaller… This is the time to come and make an arrangement for unreported capital, because the tax authorities will find it.”

Hana Levi Julian

9 Hospitals Okay to Buy MRIs, ‘Without Funding’

Friday, December 5th, 2014

In principal, nine Israeli hospitals received approval Thursday to purchase – at their own expense – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines.

The green light came from the Knesset Labor, Social Services and Health Committee just before Yesh Atid MK and Health Minister Yael German quit her post after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fired German’s party chairman, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, from his post in the coalition government.

The hospitals were blocked by the Finance Ministry from purchasing the life-saving machines until now, even at their own expense, due to the costs to the HMOs.

Hospitals marked to receive the machines over the next three years include five state-owned medical centers – Wolfson in Holon, Ziv in Tzfat, Hillel Jaffe in Hadera, Poriya in Tiberias and Bnei Zion in Haifa; Emek in Afula, owned by Clalit Health Services and three others to be decided in future.

In September 2010, eight new MRI machines were approved for various hospitals and medical centers around the country as well.

MRI scan is a medical procedure in which human body organs and structures can be viewed using a large magnet and radio waves. The instrument is used most often to scan the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen, blood vessels and bones.

It is used to help diagnose various medical conditions and diseases or abnormalities such as tumors, infection, injury or bleeding. But due to the expense involved, an MRI is usually only recommended in Israel only after a problem has been spotted in an X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound scan.

Also approved just before the resignation of the health minister was permission for the purchase of a Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) scanner by the Augusta Victoria hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

The number of CT machines being used for dentistry around the country, however, are to be limited in order to minimize overexposure to radiation.

Purchase of a nuclear accelerator was also approved for cancer treatment in the center of the country, along with cardiology x-ray machines and special decompression chamber.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel to Vacate ‘All’ IDF Bases in Central Region

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Israel plans to vacate all its bases in the central region in the coming months, according to Harel Locker, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, who has been tasked with the goal in order to streamline the military system.

Locker made the statement at Tuesday’s Globes-BDO Ziv Haft Capital Market Conference, saying budget cuts for the defense establishment had forced the move.

Last week the IDF warned it was halting air force training and non-active flights, as well as all non-active training programs for career and reserve personnel due to the budget cuts imposed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid.) The drastic measures came following the ministry’s refusal to infuse additional funds into defense coffers which had already been approved in a special vote by the Cabinet in October. The squabble over funds comes at a time when a new unity government between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization has been re-established under the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and terrorism against Israel is on the rise on both sides of the 1949 Armistice line (also known as the “Green Line” or “pre-1967” line.)

“All of the land on which IDF bases between Haifa and Be’er Sheva” are located would be up for sale, Locker said – effectively raising money for defense through the capital markets rather than earmarking funds in the state budget.

“This sort of government investment will contribute to economic activity in the market. It will also free up land for more than 100,000 housing units in high-demand areas in central Israel,” he noted.

In addition, Locker claimed the move towards the northern and southern periphery would boost the economy in those areas. “Tens of thousands of career officers and soldiers will work, live, buy and enrich” those regions, he claimed.

However, so far the move by the air force to the periphery doesn’t seem to have done much other than create havoc on roads in the south that were never built to accommodate the increased amount of traffic. The construction project to widen and develop the area around the Nevatim air force base, meanwhile – particularly the reconstruction of Route 31 from the Shoqet Junction near Be’er Sheva to Arad – has turned the entire northeastern Negev upside down for more than a year, with little to show for it other than more vehicular accidents.

Locker said the state would fund the project through sales of the land on which the bases are now located – “the most expensive lands in high demand areas… for tens of billions of shekels.” He said he was turning to the business community gathered at the conference for extra-budgetary financing of the project – “financial institutions, banks and other entities.” He added that he hoped to complete the process “within a few weeks.”

Rachel Levy

Budget Cuts Leave Israeli Air Force Training Flights Up in the Air

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The IDF is grounding training flights in the Israeli air force, effective immediately, according to a report late Tuesday night by Walla!

Starting next Sunday, pilots will fly only during actual operations and in flight school, IAF fighter jet commanders were told Tuesday night. The IDF decision to ground the planes includes reserve pilots as well, and was made jointly by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

The decision to clip the wings of Israel’s air force came after the Finance Ministry refused to send the Defense Ministry a payment of NIS 750 million ($215 million) for basic maintenance, training and drills.

Last October the Defense Ministry had asked for an increase in its budget after it had taken steps to streamline operations. The Cabinet approved a decision to transfer NIS 2.75 billion to the defense establishment from the budget surplus that existed at the time.

Nevertheless, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has continued to advocate for a cut in the budget instead, hoping to use those funds for social services.

In the long run, it may be that the equipment will come out the biggest loser of all, however. Brig.-Gen. (res) Assaf Agmon, head of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, was quoted as saying, “a plane that doesn’t fly suffers in terms of its condition; rubber dries out, the body is damaged. It’s for good reason pilots often air out their plane for 15 minutes before a mission, so as to preserve the plaine’s flight condition.”

A source in the Defense Ministry told Walla!, the Finance Ministry “refused to hold logical negotiations while at least making good on its earlier commitments, and therefore we had no choice but to make decisions like these.”

“The IDF planned in a responsible manner the work plans for 2014 according to the missions and the size of the army, as approved in October by the Cabinet, and in January by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committe,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “Throughout that time the meaning of the approval of a work plan with an inadequate budget was presented to all the relevant parties. It was made clear that in May, the IDF would reach an extreme point at which hard decisions would be required.”

Hana Levi Julian

FM Spokesperson Yigal Palmor Resigning, Joins Senior Staff Flight

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

According to a report published Tuesday in the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, veteran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor plans to resign in the near future.

If the report is true, Palmor’s resignation will be the latest in a series of flights by seasoned professionals from the office that is the face of the State of Israel, representing this country to the world. Palmor, 53, speaks numerous languages and has worked at the ministry for 28 years, serving as a deputy spokesperson since the mid-1990s and as official spokesperson since 2008.

Among the others who left over the past several years are: Lior Weintraub, chief of staff at the Washington bureau; Yaki Dayan, head of the Los Angeles office; Ran Curiel, vice-director at the European office; Ilan Maor, Israel’s envoy to Shanghai; and Amos Nidai, former ambassador to Beijing. Each allegedly left “for his own reasons,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

But it is no secret that relations between ministry employees and “upper management” have been strained at best. Over the past year they carried out a worldwide strike – an unheard-of move by envoys and people at the foreign ministry – due to a long-unresolved contract dispute with the Finance Ministry over wages and benefits.

Palmor was left to explain that to the media, including having to face the unenviable task of dealing with the fallout over holiday supplies not reaching the famed Nepal Chabad House in time for its annual Passover Seder in the Himalayas due to the strike.

Further complicating the picture are the reduced numbers in the ministry’s lower echelons due to the wage and benefits dispute, which has meant there are fewer younger officials to rely upon.

There is also a great deal of confusion about exactly who represents this country to the world. The establishment in 2006 of the prime minister’s National Information Directorate alienated many at the foreign ministry; at that time, the ministry already was contending with the issue of its releases simultaneously arriving in editors’ boxes with those of the Government Press Office, those of the IDF, the Defense Ministry, and those of the Prime Minister’s Office – not to mention releases from the spokespersons of individual politicians and members of Knesset.

It has never been clear to most journalists exactly who, precisely, represents the views of the State of Israel as a specific, sole entity. If as a journalist one calls the prime minister’s office to ask that question, the answer often depends upon the question itself – “exactly what is this about?”

One cannot ever get a straight answer to a straight question in the State of Israel, as a journalist – and this may be the greatest problem for this country’s public relations, if not perhaps the impetus behind the exodus of the foreign ministry’s senior staff.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fm-spokesperson-yigal-palmor-resigning-joins-senior-staff-flight/2014/05/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: