What is Betterment Tax or Levy (Hetel Hashbacha)?

Betterment tax (hetel hashbacha) is a levy payable to the local planning authorities by an owner or long-term leaseholder of a property, under Israel’s Planning and Building Law.  If, since the seller originally purchased the apartment, the planning authorities have adopted a new zoning plan allowing greater use of the property or additional building rights, or if the seller submitted a request and was granted additional building rights or other benefits affecting the value of the apartment – the seller … Continued

Me’ein or Ma’on HaBerachot?!

I liked the following insight that appeared in the Hebrew “Shabbat BeShabbato” pages this week (Parshat Naso, No. 1526), written by Ya’akov Etzion. Ya’akov gives an innovative explanation for a phrase in Friday night davening that I have always found difficult. In the Magen Avot prayer after the Amidah, the following words appear: “we will give thanks to His name every day continuously, me’ein ha-berachot“.  What do these two last words actually mean? The Gemara (Berachot 40a) explains the meaning … Continued

Why Are Most Jewish Objects Covered?! Recommended D’var Torah for Parshat Pekudei, by Rabbi S. Weiss

Question: WHY ARE MOST JEWISH OBJECTS COVERED? Answer: The Gemara (Ta’anit 8b) says, “blessing only rests on that which is hidden from the eye. Once it has been counted, its potential for blessing is lost.” And so, many of our ritual objects are covered: The Torah has a mantle over it & is kept in an Aron; the Aron itself has a Parochet/curtain; a Mezuza has a housing/bayit, as do Tefilin; a Megila is kept in a case; Matza on Pesach & Challa on Shabbat are covered, etc. … Continued

Recommended D’var Torah – Parshat Tetzave! The Sacred and the Profane, by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Pinchukמומלצת דבר תורה – פרשת תצווה!הקודש והחול, על ידי הרב ד”ר משה פינצ’וק

The Sacred and the Profaneby Rabbi Dr. Moshe Pinchuk The penultimate subject of Tezaveh is the daily dual sacrifice, more commonly denoted by its Hebrew name, the Korban Tamid (Ex. 29, 38-42). The description of Korban HaTamid reappears, almost verbatim, in Parashat Pinchas (Num. 28, 1-8). A reason for this repetition may be culled from the differing contexts in which Korban Tamid appears. The context in Tezaveh is the sanctification and inauguration of the Mishkan as the abode of the … Continued

What Will and What Will Not Constitute “Ha-ra’at Te’naim”?הרעת תנאים

Depreciation of Terms and Conditions of Employment (Ha-ra’at Te’naim) “A person who has been employed continuously for one year… by the same employer or at the same place of employment and has been dismissed is entitled to receive severance pay (pitzuyei piturin) from the employer who has dismissed him.”Section 1(a), Israeli Severance Pay Law, 5723-1963 “Where an employee resigns by reason of an appreciable deterioration of his conditions of employment (ha-ra’at te’naim) … the resignation shall, for the purposes of … Continued

Seller Beware! Remember – Even Negotiations Must be Conducted in Good Faith in Israel…

Recent Court Case – The Importance of Good Faith Also During Contractual Negotiations Under Israeli law, not only must “an obligation or a right arising out of a contract be fulfilled or exercised in customary manner and in good faith” (s. 39 of the Contracts (General Part) Law, 5733-1973), but even “in negotiating a contract,” the parties “must act in a customary manner and in good faith” (s. 12(a) ibid); and “a party who does not act in customary manner … Continued

Seller Beware! Remember – Even Negotiations Must be Conducted in Good Faith in Israel…מוכר היזהר! זכור – גם משא ומתן חייב להתנהל בתום לב בישראל

Recent Court Case – The Importance of Good Faith Also During Contractual Negotiations Under Israeli law, not only must “an obligation or a right arising out of a contract be fulfilled or exercised in customary manner and in good faith” (s. 39 of the Contracts (General Part) Law, 5733-1973), but even “in negotiating a contract,” the parties “must act in a customary manner and in good faith” (s. 12(a) ibid); and “a party who does not act in customary manner … Continued

What happens if I don’t make a Will?

Several people recently asked me: What happens if I don’t make a Will? There are at least 5 worrying answers to this question: Without a properly drawn up Will: Your widow will receive only 50% of your assets – while the additional 50% will be distributed amongst your children (can you be sure 50% of your assets will cover all your widow’s needs?) You will not be able to appoint guardians to take care of your children, should you and your spouse … Continued

What happens if I don’t make a Will?מה קורה אם אני לא עושה וויל?

Several people recently asked me: What happens if I don’t make a Will? There are at least 5 worrying answers to this question: Without a properly drawn up Will: Your widow will receive only 50% of your assets – while the additional 50% will be distributed amongst your children (can you be sure 50% of your assets will cover all your widow’s needs?) You will not be able to appoint guardians to take care of your children, should you and … Continued

12 Practical Tips and Tricks for Rental Contract Negotiations in Israel (Part II)חלק ב’: טיפים למו”מ לקראת חתימה על חוזה שכירות

You are about to rent an apartment. A person purporting to represent the landlord presents you with a single sheet of paper and shows you where to sign on the dotted line (“it’s just standard wording,” he assures you). What should you look out for to protect your interests? In Part I of this article, we discussed the issues of obtaining a valid power of attorney in the case of an absentee landlord; the importance of making an inspection of … Continued