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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘NIS’

Haredi Draft Proposal Offers Few Sticks, Many Carrots

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The Knesset committee tasked with crafting an alternative to the Tal Law for haredi service in Israel is reportedly drafting a proposal which would defer the enlistment of haredi men till age 22, offer financial incentives to yeshivot that have younger enlistment rates, and begin to levy economic sanctions on haredim who don’t enlist by age 23.

The proposal being floated in the Plesner Committee seeks to implement a “carrot and stick” approach to encouraging early recruitment, directed at both yeshivot and individual students: a point system would be established whereby each student that enlists in the IDF between the ages of 18-19 would confer upon his yeshiva 1.5 “points” towards allocation of state funds. The later a student enlists, the lower the points the yeshiva would be granted, declining to .4 points for a student that still has not enlisted by age 22. According to the committee, the benefits of early enlistment are two-fold: yeshivot would receive greater budget allocations than they do today, and it would lower the number of students the yeshivot have to finance at any given time. At age 22, the “carrots” end and the “sticks” begin, most of which would be shouldered by the individual students, and would include sanctions like denial of housing benefits.

The committee would also determine recruitment targets for each year. The draft proposal has carved out a permanent exemption for Torah prodigies, the numbers of which are expected to be far less than those today. Reports have suggested that some 1,500 individuals in each draft class would qualify for the exemption.

According to the plan, haredi men would perform two years of national or military service (in contrast to the three years mandated for male soldiers in the IDF), and the state would offer haredim a variety of recruitment options to choose from, like additional “Nahal Haredi” units and special tracks within the Police force and the Prison Services.

On Tuesday, a report released by the Knesset Research and Information Center found that haredi enlistment would come at a high financial cost, due mainly to the fact that most of the draftees would already be married and many would already have children, requiring commensurate salaries; whereas non-married non-combat soldiers receive salaries of around NIS 350/month, and non-married combat soldiers receive approximately NIS 700/month, married soldiers and soldiers with children are paid at least NIS 5000/month.

Israeli news sources Ynet and Walla quoted officials in the haredi community as saying that imposing military or national service on yeshiva students would “set the streets on fire.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with committee Chair MK Yochanan Plesner (Kadima) on Tuesday and reportedly pressured him to offer a more moderate proposal, one that is palatable to both the coalition and the broader public. He also met Tuesday with MKs Yakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism). He is scheduled to meet with Shas MKs Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias on Wednesday to allay the concerns of the fourth biggest party in his coalition.

Netanyahu is reported to be considering asking the High Court of Justice for an extension on implementing a replacement to the Tal law, which is set to expire on July 31.

Changes to the proposal may still be made in the remaining deliberations this week; the proposal is expected to be submitted to the government early next week.

Tomato Shortage Leads to Price Surge in Israel

Monday, May 7th, 2012

A tomato shortage has led to a surge in prices for the juicy Israeli staples, with prices estimated to reach NIS 16 per kilo on Monday ($1.90/lb).  Tomatoes are usually an inexpensive commodity, available at 45 – 75 cents a pound.

The shortage is a result of the conclusion of a growing season.  In a month, ripe tomatoes are estimated to be available again, bringing the price back down, according to the Vegetable Growers Association, cited by Globes online business news.

On the Eve of Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Government Increases Holocaust Survivors’ Benefits

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

On the eve of Yom HaShoah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Tuesday adopted the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen affairs Leah Nass and Knesset Finance committee Chairman Moshe Gafni, and decided to increase the budget for the basket of services for Holocaust survivors, setting it at NIS 225 million for 2012.

The Cabinet also decided that more than 8,500 Holocaust survivors will receive a NIS 580 supplement to their monthly support payments (which are currently between NIS 2,000-7,000) thanks to the NIS 50 million increase in support payments for needy Holocaust survivors.

At the start of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Today’s decision adds to the many actions we have taken in recent years on behalf of holocaust survivors. We want to remember those who perished, the six million brothers and sisters, and heed the lessons of the Holocaust in order to ensure the future of our people.”

According to Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen Affairs Nass, there are some 200,000 Holocaust survivors currently living in Israel, 70,000 of whom lived in concentration camps and ghettos. “In recent years, we have succeeded in reaching 120,000 survivors, helping them utilize their rights and receive the Government assistance to which they are entitled.”

Finance Minister Steinitz noted that the budget for the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, headed by Ofra Ross, currently stands at NIS 2.9 billion, up from NIS 1.5 billion in 2005, and added that the Rights Authority is currently dealing with almost 90,000 Holocaust survivors, up from some 51,000 in 2005.

Israeli Cabinet Approves Free Education for Children Aged Three and Over

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Israel’s Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to fund free education for children aged three and older – the main recommendation of the Trajtenberg report. The law, which is slated to be implemented next academic year, passed in a 21-8 vote, after the cabinet agreed to cut the budgets of government ministries across the board. Still, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to convince coalition-partner Shas that the budget cuts would not affect local authorities or neighborhood rehabilitation plans. Netanyahu praised the decision, stating that, “2012 is the year of education and security.”

The Finance Ministry has continually objected to such a plan, citing the high cost and lack of budget. The cost of the plan is estimated at NIS 7.2 billion over the next five years. The program will cost NIS 1.8 billion annually starting in 2017.

List of Israel’s Wealthiest Politicians

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

In the ranking of wealthiest politicians in the country by “Forbes Israel”, the top seat goes to Minister of Galilee and Negev Development Silvan Shalom who is worth an estimated at NIS 167 million. Shalom was formerly Israel’s Foreign Minister, and also Israel’s Finance Minister.

Minister of Justice Yaakov Ne’eman is in second place, with a financial worth of NIS 100 million. Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, in 3rdplace with a fortune estimated at NIS 70 million. MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) comes in fourth at NIS 55 million.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in fifth place, with a fortune estimated at NIS 38 million.

Israel Home Prices Down For First Time in Almost 3 Years

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Home prices have fallen in the third quarter of 2011, for the first time in 30 months, according to an article in Israel’s Globes online business journal. The average price of a four-room apartment in the 16 cities analyzed in a government assessor’s survey was 1.2% less in the third quarter than in the preceding quarter, but was still 6.8% higher than in the corresponding quarter of 2010.

Tel Aviv’s average price was down 6% to NIS 2.39 million. Herzliya fell 2% to NIS 1.74 million, and Bat Yam fell 4% to NIS 1.44 million.  Jerusalem’s average price, however, rose 2% over the preceding quarter to NIS 1.7 million.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-home-prices-down-for-first-time-in-almost-3-years/2011/11/13/

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