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      Israel Clamps Down on Rising Property Tax - At Least for Now

      In all but six communities, the Israeli government has clamped down on rising property taxes, at least until the end of this year.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 8/17/2011, 1:55 PM

      Housing protests
      Housing protests
      Flash 90

      The Israeli government has clamped down on rising property taxes, with only a few exceptions granted by the Interior Ministry. 

      More than half of Israel's 225 local authorities have requested permission from the Interior and Finance Ministries to raise the rates, according to The Marker.

      There was good news and bad news for Israeli residents: Shas Minister Eli Yishai nixed the requests in all but six, thus freezing property taxes at least until the end of December 2011.

      However, in those six, the approvals are retroactive to January 2011, meaning consumers will have to pay increased taxes dating back nearly nine months' worth. Residents of Meitar, Ra'anana, Hod HaSharon, Beit She'an, Rosh HaAyin and Hatzor will thus be forced to shell out hundreds of shekels per year – and perhaps hundreds of shekels more by next month as well, to make up the difference since the beginning of this year.

      For weeks, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets and parks across the country, camping out in tents to protest the cost of living and the cost of housing in the Jewish State.

      Unlike renters in the United States and elsewhere, in Israel it is the resident of a dwelling who pays the property tax, regardless of whether he is the owner or the renter. "Arnona," as it is called, is paid separately, to the municipality or local authority, and is apart from the rent or mortgage. It is important to always ask about the amount of such payments when researching housing, since property tax is rarely mentioned by real estate agents or landlords who are seeking to sell or rent out their dwellings.