Financial Aid to Hard-Hit South

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

The hard-hit communities in southern Israel were promised emergency assistance on Sunday in the form of 417-million-shekel aid package, about half which is earmarked for Sderot.

The government allocated NIS 226 million of the package for 2014-2015, adding to the NIS166 million it already approved for aid in 2014. An additional NIS 193 million was set aside for use in 2016, to fund economic assistance in the long term.

Residents will receive a 20% income tax credit, a 30% discount on residential property tax, and a 24% discount on property tax for businesses.

The government also increased local industrial R&D funding 25%, and allocated monies for student dorms, investment incentives for an industrial zone and exemptions from Israel Land Authority leasing fees. Local authorities will receive NIS 31 million annually in special grants to finance security-related expenses.

The government will also finance five mental wellness centers offering psychological and social work services, mainly for children affected by the conflict.