Photo Credit: Flash 90
Pointing the way to Israel's Tax Authority in Jerusalem.

Israel’s State Comptroller, on Tuesday, released an annual report as to the state of the State Israel’s government activities. The State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman’s report dealt with all manner of subjects. However, tax collection, banking activities, housing issues were some of the most glaring examples of problems and so topped the Comptroller’s introduction to the report.

On tax income, Matanyahu Englman found that the state owes NIS 3.6 billion ($1.1 billion) in refunds too its citizens for the over-imposition and collection of taxes. “This is private money and the state is obligated to return it,” he said. Englman also explained that, “the tax authority does not act proactively to provide tax refunds to those entitled.”

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On the Leviathan natural gas field, the Comptroller’s office found that Israel’s Sovereign Wealth fund raised only NIS 741 million ($231 million) instead of the NIS 12.8 billion ($4 billion) forecast to be brought in by 2022. “The government is not working effectively to realize the revenue potential inherent in the gas resource and to increase the wealth of the public coffers,” said the report.

On public transport accessibility, the Comptroller found that 60% of people with disabilities are not satisfied with the accessibility of public transport for the disabled in Israel. “We have a great commitment to people with disabilities and the state must do much more to give them the right answer for them,” he said.

On the management of foreign currency reserves at the Bank of Israel, the Comptroller found that the Bank holds far too much in foreign currencies. This could be due to the Hugh value of the Shekel. To keep the Shekel from getting too strong, the Bank of Israel will buy up Dollars, Euros and other convertible world currencies with Shekels. This is to put more Shekels out in the marketplace so that the laws of supply and demand might cause its value to drop.

“As of February 2021, the total foreign exchange reserves held by the Bank of Israel were estimated at $185 billion,” said the report, “compared to the desired level, which stands at $70 to $110 billion. This led to a cumulative capital deficit of about NIS 70 billion and could impose a goodwill risk on the Bank of Israel.”

On the costs of private homes in Israel, from 2008 to 2020 housing prices jumped by 103%. The audit found that in practice land was marketed for the construction of only 80,000 housing units, which is about 33% of the targets that had been set.

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