‘New tax law discriminates against Judea and Samaria residents’, say Religious Zionists

“Shame and disgrace on the right-wing fig leaves of this anti-Zionist left-wing government,” declared MK Betzalel Smotrich.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A new Capital Investment Encouragement Law aimed at easing the Jewish State’s housing crisis has left residents of Judea and Samaria in the lurch, said Religious Zionism chair Betzalel Smotrich.

Speaking during a meeting of the Finance Committee, which was set to outline the terms of the new incentive program, Smotrich said it was unacceptable that the proposed law, which gives tax benefits to investors and developers who build and maintain apartments for long-term leasing, would not apply to those investing in Judea and Samaria.

“So the residents of Araba and Sakhnin and Tel Aviv and Haifa will be entitled to apartments for long-term rent, but the residents of Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel and Beitar Illit will not be entitled and will continue to pay more,” Smotrich said.

“Again, this is not a legal issue nor a political issue. These are tax benefits to which the residents of Little Israel will be entitled and the residents of Judea and Samaria will not be entitled and are therefore being discriminated against. Shame and disgrace on the right-wing fig leaves of this anti-Zionist left-wing government.”

Ten degrees to the right,” he said, sarcastically referencing a speech by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in which the premier said his government would be further to the right than that of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I call on the members of the Finance Committee now: Do not discriminate against Judea and Samaria!” said Benjamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz in a statement.

“There is no reason or justification for excluding us from encouraging long-term rentals. [Our] localities are also subject to irrelevant political restrictions that interfere with construction and development. The Knesset must not discriminate against loyal citizens and exclude a large region. Discrimination is not unity!”

After the backlash, a representative from the Justice Ministry issued a statement indicating that while Judea and Samaria had not been specifically included in the outline, there was no reason that investors in the region could not apply for the same tax relief as their counterparts in other areas in Israel.