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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ministry of Finance to tax donated toys and clothing again

I received the note below from an old friend. You are invited to take action on it:
The following notice was placed in a series of major New York yahoogroups, Cragilists, etc this past week by the owners of Bears From Bergenfield, who supply Robin Hood Israel with slightly damaged and irregular stuffed bears that cannot be sold in their stores in America. We distribute them here to all of the hospitals, children shelters and misrad harevacha [Ministry of Welfare. CiJ] offices in the peripheries, focusing in particular on the Negev (under the offices of Miri Becker, Overseer of Child Welfare for the Negev region out of Beer Sheva), and Deputy Minister Graziela Feller, the Mimuna Artzi [National coordinator CiJ] for the Homeless in the Jerusalem headquarters. Last year we focused on the Gallil, Golan, Teveria region and all of the Gush Katif displaced children.

As you know, this past week we distributed just over 250 Bears from Begenfield that were "smuggled in", throughout the negev and the childrens ward of the hospitals in Ashkelon, Beer Sheva and Eilat via Miri Becker's office.

The advertisement by a major charity donor that they were being held for ransom by the Israelis struck a particularly bad note in the ears of Federation senior donors, who were deeply embarrassed during Annapolis Week in particular.

We are briging in a major shipment of more than 500 stuffed toys in time for chanuka, and have been asked this time to finally end this embarrassment as RHIF [Robin Hood Israel Foundation - which is an affiliate of Robin Hood US. CiJ] on behalf of the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the USA. The issue is not the bears, obviously. We have a delivery of winter coats for every resident of every homeless and single mother shelter in Israel arriving in two weeks as well, as but another immediate example.

Following is the advert from JewishUpperWestSide@yahoogroups.com, which was picked up as a story by the NY press as an indication of the moral terpitude of the Israelis and the unquestioning loyalty no matter what obscenity is perpetrated on the part of American Jews. It was an awful publicity during Anapolis week, and Olmert is simply tone deaf:


I am trying to raise the money to pay for meches [customs duties. CiJ] for our Bergen/ Westchester County stuffed toy donation for Sederot children at Chanukah time. We estimate the fees to be $750. If you could please send me the checks made out to Connections Israel, I will mail the checks to them.

[Address omitted]

We also need a donation of a truck to take the toys to the El Al cargo hangar. El Al will ship all toys packed in boxes for FREE for us.

Happy Chanukah,

Claire Ginsburg Goldstein

Bears from Bergenfield

[Phone number omitted]


As discussed, the position of the MoF [Israeli Ministry of Finance. CiJ] remains that while these items would be tax free under the treaty with the US if sold in Israel, the treaty does not mention charitable donations, and therefore they may be taxed at full rate to indicate the government's displeasure with portraying Israel as needy and poor rather than Hi Tech Herzliya Pituach. [Herzliya Pituach is a wealthy suburb north of Tel Aviv that has a number of office parks that are filled with some of Israel's most prominent hi tech companies. CiJ]

We need all the help we can get on this matter. I will forward under separate EMAIL my Op-Ed piece published by the Los Angeles Times when they refused to let the cargo plane of clothes from LA unload two years ago. Then a week later Aryah Sharon had a stroke, Olmert became interim Prime Minister, and everyone elected to give him a honeymoon period rather than confront him as originally intended at the time.

G Pickholz
Robin Hood Israel Foundation
[G Pickholz is a college classmate of mine. We go back many years, and I know this story to be legitimate. The plane is due to arrive during Chanuka. CiJ].

Previously at Israel Matzav: Taxing teddy bears


At 6:53 PM, Blogger sdavis said...

The simplest solution is to have the Israeli importers pay a Grush to the exporter as a purchaser; that will bring the goods under the duty-free treaty, and let those idiots at the MOF steam.

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

S Davis,

As I understand it, this has become a matter of principle for the Federations - they absolutely will not allow any tax to be paid. It's two of the wealthiest Federations in the US - Los Angeles and Metrowest/Northern New Jersey, and they are willing to go to court to prove their point.

And the finance minister who originally made the decision? Ehud K. Olmert.

At 2:59 AM, Blogger sdavis said...

Isn't that cutting off the nose to spite the face -- remember, we're discussing the Israeli judicial system; from what I understand, logic, reason and the application of the law as intended does not always work there; while the MOF rulings may have technically gotten around the free-trade agreement, they clearly have not followed the intent of the agreement -- not to tax US-made goods coming into Israel.

Olmert is a sleaze bag; he epitomizes every caricature of disreputable attorneys.

At 5:04 AM, Blogger Michael Travis said...

I have lived in Israel since the early 80's (I am currently on Sabbatical in Boston) and it shames me to admit it...but this sort of disgraceful behavior has always been routine for our [disgusting, primitive and corrupt] bureaucrats.

Our "Government" has always treated it's citizens as the enemy....while spending our resources trying to convince the Arabs and Anti-Semites to love us.


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