This morning, the government will be asked to approve an updated list of settlements designated as of national priority. Residents of such settlements are entitled to various benefits, mainly a tax credit of between 7% and 20% up to a certain level of income. The total cost of the benefits is estimated at NIS 2.33 billion annually.
The settlements concerned meet one of the following criteria: they are located in areas at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale of settlements in the periphery of Israel; they are next to a border (up to seven kilometers from a border or up to nine kilometers from the Lebanese border); they are under threat (which mostly means settlements in Judea and Samaria); or they are new (up to five years from the date of occupation or up to ten years from construction).
According to figures to be presented to the government, some 2.25 million Israelis live in settlements due to be declared priority areas, most of them (92.1%) in settlements in the periphery and the rest in settlements in the other categories. The major settlements included in the list are Beersheva, Kiryat Shemona, Ofakim, Sderot, and Bet She'an. The list will be valid until September 2021.
In its first weekly meeting since the Passover holiday break, the government is due to approve plans for strengthening Kiryat Shemona, Shlomi and Metula in the north, Yeruham in the south, and an aid program for settlements in the Dead Sea area coping with the problem of sinkholes. In total, the budgets allocated to these areas amounts to NIS 900 million, over five years. The aid to Yeruham and the northern towns will mostly go to educational, cultural and welfare institutions in those settlements. The aid to the Dead Sea settlements will mainly be in the form of tourism initiatives along the shores of the disappearing lake.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 15, 2018
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