MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel SmotrichBezalel Smotrich

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation has passed a law, initiated by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), to give Judea and Samaria residents the same tax breaks as the rest of Israel.

Internationally disputed, the regions of Judea and Samaria remain under military rule . Israeli law does not apply in the region, unless it is signed by the regional commander.

This landmark law would give all Israeli citizens equal rights - without the military's agreement.

In the past few days, coalition party leaders have been putting their heads together over how to enact Smotrich's proposal. After closing an agreement with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, they gave the green light for the vote.

Just half a year ago, Smotrich agreed to pass MK Moshe Gafni's (UTJ) tax breaks law, despite the fact that it did not include Judea and Samaria as part of Israel. Smotrich received a direct promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that those towns would get the same tax breaks, without changing the written map.

In wake of the vote on the tax breaks, Smotrich submitted his amendment to include Judea-Samaria - which was rejected by Treasury officials, despite their promises.

After months of rocky negotiations with the Treasury, Smotrich brought up the law in a special session of the Ministerial Committee, backed by Minister Naftali Bennett, Minister Uri Ariel, and Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home).

The committee has now passed the bill on to the Knesset, where it is expected to be passed into law today.

According to the bill proposal, several factors, such as socioeconomic status, distance from the center of Israel, and the level of danger in the area, will contribute to an individual's tax breaks.

A triumphant Smotrich spoke to Arutz Sheva, "Now, finally, we can say that we have built the map for settling Israel. This law will allow thousands of families in Judea and Samaria, who suffer daily security threats, to receive that which they deserve, and to gain equal rights with the rest of the citizenry of Israel.

"The nationalist government is putting Judea-Samaria back on the map. There is still a long way to go, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. I want to thank Ministers Bennett, Ariel, and Shaked, who supported and backed the process, which without their support we would not have achieved."