Saturday, August 13, 2016

The taxman cometh

Here's an interesting short news item about potential changes to Israel's tax system aimed at privatized kibbutzes. In short, the proposal will restrict "collective" tax rates to those few kibbutzim who have maintained their communal economies (what are known as kibbutz shitufi) and/or have no greater than a 25% differential between the best and worst paid members. For the majority of kibbutzim who have undergone "privatization" or decommunalization" (also called shinui or "The Change"), members will need to pay individual income taxes rather than the collective communal tax (sometimes negligible or zero) that has benefitted kibbutzes for decades.

Ha'aretz offers an even more detailed look at the potential consequences here.

Boris Johnson, kibbutz volunteer

While much attention over the past year has focused on the experiences (and location) of Bernie Sanders as a kibbutz volunteer, it turns out that another major politician did a tour of duty on a kibbutz: Boris Johnson, the blonde-bemopped former mayor of London and now post-Brexit U.K. foreign secretary.

An article in Ha'aretz allows his sister to describe their time together as volunteers on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi. Boris wasn't exactly kibbutznik material but apparently he toughed out his initial work assignment in the kibbutz kitchen before tourijng the rest of the country and meeting Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek:

“He was not a kibbutznik. He was not a soldier. And he was so pale he couldn’t even go in the sun.”

He sounds (and even looks) much like I did as a hapless foreign kibbutz volunteer.