President Herzog launches debt clemency scheme for war-affected Israelis

The plan, announced together with Justice Minister Levin, is being introduced to pardon monetary fines for war-affected families who face severe financial hardship

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

A home in Ashkelon damaged by a rocket fired by terrorists from the Gaza Strip, October 7, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)
A home in Ashkelon damaged by a rocket fired by terrorists from the Gaza Strip, October 7, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog and Justice Minister Yariv Levin on Monday announced a special clemency scheme for war-affected families, who have accrued debt due to fines and have come under severe economic strain.

The new scheme was launched to provide relief from fines, especially in the construction and planning fields. It is tailored for residents who have directly been hit by the war with the Hamas terror group and are facing employment and income difficulties and as a result struggle to pay their debts during this challenging period.

The outline was introduced in the aftermath of the October 7 atrocities, when 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists burst across the border from Gaza and slaughtered about 1,200 people in southern Israel, a majority of them civilians murdered amid brutal atrocities, and abducted about 240 hostages.

Amid the ongoing war, more than 200,000 people have been displaced from Israeli communities along the southern and northern borders near the Gaza Strip due to the launching of thousands of rockets into Israel from there and the Hamas assault on the border communities. To join the fighting, the Israeli army has called up more than 300,000 reservists – many of whom work in businesses across sectors of the economy.

The scheme was advanced in response to requests that arose during Herzog’s visit to bereaved families in the Druze community and Bedouin society, the President’s Office said in a statement. Furthermore, Sheikh Muafak Tarif, the leader of the Israeli Druze community, directly appealed to Herzog because of the great hardship of the men and women of the community, who are also serving in the Israeli army, and grapple with paying heavy fines during the war period.

“The grief and upheaval that we have been going through since the barbaric terror attack by the monsters of Hamas and the consequences of the campaign it forced upon us, are mixed with determination, national strength and belief in the rightness of the way — to restore security to all citizens of Israel and bring the captives home,” said Herzog. “In these challenging moments — Israeli society was revealed and is being revealed in all its glory, in cohesion, and commitment, on the front and in the rear, in all the diverse communities of Israel and all over the country.”

Druze residents hand out food to Israeli soldiers guarding a road near the Israeli border with Lebanon, on October 9, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)

“The launch of the new amnesty outline rests, among other things, precisely on these foundations of solidarity in our difficult times,” he added.

As part of the scheme, war-affected groups — soldiers on regular or reserve duty, bereaved families and families of hostages held in Gaza, as well as families of evacuees and those whose homes were damaged in the war — who fell into economic hardship due to the war will be eligible for a reduction or cancellation of fines.

Every request will be examined individually according to the specific financial situation of each applicant, their ability to pay the fines in question, the amount of effort the applicant invested in trying to pay the fines, and the overall sum owed.

Most Popular
read more: