Friday, December 27, 2013


At one panel I participated in with Talia Sasson and Avner Gevaryahu, on Israel's democracy, I noted that the claim of anti-Arab discrimination could be, in part, dependent amongst some due to the perceived lack of tax participation payments they make.  I raised the point that perhaps those who avoid taxes should be reviewed and, at the least, that on the municpal level they be challenged.

Talia was extremely upset.  Of course, she quite adamantly claimed there was institutional discrimination against Arabs and even announced that "of course they cannot be expected to stand at attention when the Rembrance Day siren goes off" when I pointed out that usually our news programs only screen the Haredim walking about in Bnei Brak and Meah Shearim doing so when we all know that if the camera would be situated in Um El-Fahm we might see even worse behavior.  And she was angry that I would link finances and citizenship.

My point that perhaps services be linked to payment of taxes on the municpal level was met by derision.

Well, at least for your knowledge:

Study: Arabs evade tax payment due to poverty 

Ben-Gurion University research suggests low tax payment rate among Arabs not related to national sentiment or poor enforcement, but to considerably lower income of average Arab family compared to Jewish family. 

One solution: Conditioning municipal services with tax payment

Some details:

The current municipal tax collection rate within the Arab population stands at 18.6% as opposed to 53.7% in the Jewish sector. However, the particularly low collection rate also derives from past debts which are added to the general collected sum. The rate of tax evaders within the Arab population stands at 60%.

...Haj claims that the low tax payment rate derives from the poor economical state of the Arab population as opposed to the Jewish population. He reached the conclusion that in communities of high socio-economic status the collection rate is equally high and vice versa...

..."In Arab local councils and municipalities there is a much lower level of integrity in comparison to the Jewish sector. This means that when residents realize that tax payers' money ends up with relatives of officials and political appointments as well as with affairs not concerned with the public welfare, they become less inclined to pay tax."

Wait!  That isn't linked to "the poor economical state of the Arab population as opposed to the Jewish population", is it?

Additional information:

Haj claims that the Arab communities need to cultivate an atmosphere of belonging and commitment to the community which fortifies the "tax payment morale." He further asserts that a reform needs to be implemented within the municipal tax payment system and should be adjusted to the Arab sector's particular nature. This includes affirmative action for populations in low socio-economic status.

Another item on that report reveals this

"It's not true that Arabs don't pay taxes because they feel alienated by the state," Haj. "In my discussions with the citizens, I didn't find any connection between those types of sentiments and the levels of compliance with taxes." Instead, Haj believes, the problem revolves around the nature of the municipal tax. "The problem is that the municipal tax is paid according to how much land you own, not according to income," said Haj. 

I am not an economist and I will admit that my math skills are, well, poor. But isn't land worth more?

I think the Limmud audience was fooled.

- - -

Incidentally, as for linking citizenship rights and the fulfillment of monetary civic duties, there are other angles:

...A growing number of states are selling citizenship. Malta is the latest. So EU citizenship can be yours for 1.15mn Euros. Hungary, Spain, and Portugal now offer permanent residency in return for smaller investments in residential property, which can lead to citizenship in short order; and Cyprus tossed consolation passports to foreigners who lost more than three million Euros in the country’s banking collapse...

...The Dominican Republic...Supreme Court declared Dominican-born individuals of undocumented parents (almost all Haitian) not to enjoy Dominican citizenship...


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