The government on Sunday approved a new package to provide benefits for Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza border area. Residents of the area will be eligible for tax breaks, grants, and assistance with education and other expenses.
Residents of communities in the area will receive a 20% income tax credit. In addition, property taxes (arnona) will be slashed by 30%. Residents who send their children to pre-school day care centers will be given a subsidized price. Altogether, the package will cost the government NIS 166 million.
In addition to the individual benefits, local and regional governments will be eligible for increased budget assistance, with extra investment for infrastructure, agriculture, industry, and transportation.
Some of the money will be used to enhance bus connections between communities in the area and Sderot, where a special rocket-proof Israel Railways station opened up last week. The ride from Sderot to Tel Aviv takes about an hour, making with whole southern Negev region much more accessible to the center of the country, the Transportation Ministry said.
The purpose of the package, the government said, is to assist residents of the region, who are often subject to terror rocket attacks by Gaza Arab terrorists.
Last week, Gaza Arab terrorists once again targeted southern Israel, firing rockets that fell near Ashkelon. No injuries or damage were reported.