Double Taxation on Ghost Apartments

 "Ghost Apartments" in Mamilla, Jerusalem. Courtesy: Wiki Commons

Over the past half decade, there has been talk to double the property taxes (called “arnona”) on the estimated 10,000 “ghost apartments” or secondary residences in Jerusalem. A ghost apartment is defined as a property that sits vacant for at least nine months a year. These ghost apartments have understandably generated resentment from local residents who claim that these empty units reduce the city’s already limited housing supply. Two years ago, the Knesset Finance Committee approved this law and in January 2016, the Jerusalem Municipality began to implement this law.

2016-01-17 16:32:25
The Evolution of Machaneh Yehudah

How does a sleepy community become a hot residential destination? Sometimes the addition of a new train station can turn a town into an “up and coming” bedroom community of a thriving metropolis. Frequently the creation of a new business hub or a new mall lures residents to the city. Interestingly, sometimes the rejuvenation of an iconic landmark can help energize a community – as we have witnessed in Nachlaot, which houses the historic Shuk Machaneh Yehudah.

2016-01-11 22:14:36
A People That Dwells Alone

 Ezra Schwartz, HY"D

Last Saturday night, I attended the funeral of Ezra Schwartz at Ben Gurion Airport. Ezra was spending this year in a yeshiva with a particular focus on gemilut chasadim – charitable acts. Tragically, Ezra was murdered when he and his friends were traveling to do volunteer work at Oz Vegaon, a nature reserve established in memory of the three teenagers who were kidnapped and killed by Hamas terrorists in the summer of 2014.

2015-12-05 19:53:21
Rezoning Jerusalem

 Rechavia has been rezoned (Photo: Gedaliah Borvick)

Prior to the creation of the state of Israel, Britain ruled over the land for thirty years and created strict zoning laws regulating Jerusalem construction. Over the past few decades, there has been a movement to rezone Jerusalem in order to encourage greater development of the city.

2015-10-16 12:03:55

 The Kotel. (Photo: Gedaliah Borvick)

Never in our great grandparents’ wildest dreams could they have imagined that we would be able to live and raise our families in our own country, or be able to travel on any given day from practically any place on earth to Jerusalem and pray at the Western Wall (Kotel).

2015-09-01 00:08:21
Modi'in Has Arrived

 Park Modi'in. (Photo: CC-BY-SA Zivya, Wikipedia)

Modi’in is a beautiful, friendly city that has become a popular destination for olim. Founded in 1993, the city is well-planned, with large swaths of protected land for parks and nature reserves.  Modi’in has been designed to become Israel’s fourth-largest city; the population is currently almost 100,000 people and growing, as the long-term plan is to expand to 240,000 residents. 

2015-08-25 14:13:04
Central Tel Mond

 Mevaser Zion Synagogue (Photo:

Imagine you want to live in the center of Israel, within a short commute to business hubs such as Tel Aviv and Herzliya. In your perfect “dream house” scenario, you would like to have a nucleus of English speakers in an intimate, thriving and growing suburban community, which offers relatively inexpensive housing and excellent schools. Sounds impossible? Think again.

2015-08-05 20:42:22
The Source of Israel’s Happiness

 Celebrating Yom Yerushalayim. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

The Better Life Index – also known as the Happiness Report – was recently released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, rating the highest life satisfaction scores of 36 countries.

The list starts out pretty much as expected, with Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland – countries that are relatively prosperous, not involved in wars, and shielded from constant global scrutiny – taking the top spots. But that Israel is ranked fifth in the Happiness Report has mystified many people. 

2015-07-12 00:48:43

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