It happened again. Israel Shortcut filed an application to the director of the Jerusalem District to get a property tax exemption because it is an institution serving the local public. We received a reply that we do not meet the prescribed criteria.
Even though the regulations require that the organization serve the "residents" of the city to get the discount, the district administration decided that Israeli Shortcut didn’t quality because its recipients are not considered residents of Jerusalem "according to the Population Registry records.”
Zev Zev, the organization’s chairman, who works tirelessly for the benefit of foreign citizens living in Jerusalem, points to the absurdity: “How come those foreign citizens who pay taxes in Jerusalem (including property taxes) and have the same duties as every other Jerusalem resident with Israeli citizenship, are not considered Jerusalem residents when it comes to their rights?
“Why shouldn’t an organization who works on behalf of the foreign citizens living in Jerusalem not be recognized as working on their behalf?
“Unreasonable criteria like this can only prevent other organizations and associations from wanting to help this sector.
“Conversely, ensuring smooth access to their rights will encourage this sector to settle in Israel and make an economic contribution to the country.”
This flagrantly discriminatory policy was also shown by Jerusalem municipality’s quality service director when she was asked to explain why foreign nationals are not entitled to a Jerusalem resident card which confers benefits on those living in the city. She said, "We can only issue cards to residents of Jerusalem who are registered in the Population Registry."
Israeli Shortcut will continue its efforts to ensure that foreign citizens living in Jerusalem will have not only duties but also rights.