Government extends Sderot benefits package

Government extends Sderot benefits package

Measure includes tax exemptions, healthcare subsidies and assistance to local councils

The southern Israeli city of Sderot (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)
The southern Israeli city of Sderot (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)

The cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved the extension of economic benefits to Sderot and other southern communities that adjoin the Gaza Strip and endure rocket strikes from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The benefits package included a 20 percent tax exemption, a 30% discount on residential property tax, daycare subsidies, and an expansion of health and social welfare services, the Government Press Office announced.

In addition, the cabinet decided on economic assistance to local councils – NIS 8 million ($2.07 million) for the municipality of Sderot and NIS 5 million for regional councils in the area.

Sderot Mayor David Buskila went on a hunger strike on October 25 protesting the government’s lack of budgetary support for the cash-strapped and rocket-battered town, setting up a tent in front of the Prime Minister’s residence.

Three days into the strike, the Finance Ministry and Interior Ministry formulated an aid package which would provide Sderot with NIS 22 million, thus ending Buskila’s protest.

The October 28 aid package was independent of Sunday’s measure, which also included health and social welfare services as it was decided to expand psychological services for those suffering from shock, especially children, in five centers at the area.

The outgoing government has made similar decisions to strengthen civilian resilience in each of the past four years at an overall cost of NIS 785 million.

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