Israeli cities to stage strike over controversial property tax law

The Federation of Local Authorities in Israel on Sunday announced that they would stage a general strike on Monday over a controversial property tax law promoted by the government.

The planned law will oblige wealthy local authorities to redistribute the revenues of business property taxes to weaker cities to encourage their home construction.

Under the law, local authorities have to transfer up to 28 percent of their annual property tax profit to a new dedicated fund.

The federation, which incorporates all municipalities and local councils in Israel, said that the planned law will severely harm the residents and many sectors, including education, welfare, and culture.

It added: “It is not our duty to take care of budgetary sources for solving national crises.”

Following the strike announcement, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich convened a press conference in which he said that the planned law is intended solely to deal with the national housing crisis.

The strike, which will begin on Monday morning, includes the shutdown of schools and kindergartens, as well as all municipal services such as garbage disposal, sewage, security, welfare, inspection, and culture services.

Few municipalities, however, including the Jerusalem Municipality, said they would not join the strike. ■

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