Sunday, 26 July 2015

Tisha B'Av 2015 / 5775

It's Tisha B'Av, a very hot day in Israel. As we fast and mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple I wonder what will it take for us to wake up and make the changes necessary to merit the final Temple?
Listening to Kinnot read this morning, the verses are tragic and devastating and yet, 2000 years later, we have not changed. The issues mentioned by our prophets are the same ones we deal with day in and day out. Do we have what it takes to bring Moshiach? Will we stop our stiff necked arrogant defiance and start to live life G-d's way?

I'd love to write something inspiring but I am left with wondering, do we have what it takes? Can we do it? Can we really bring Moshiach or will it take an open Miracle from Hashem to bring about the necessary changes and wake us up once and for all?

Monday, 29 June 2015

A Moment's Stock Check

A moment's stock check:

 A few days ago we spent some time doing a little video towards our next crowd fundraiser. We have a big job ahead of us, but doing the video I had to take note. We began all we do with ideas, skills and the space we have. We had no budget, no backing and many, many telling us to give it up and just do minimum wage work or go back to SA or go to Canada or UK. We are not yet where we want to be, but the video proves just how very far we have come.

So, even though we have not yet reached our goal, we'd like to say thank you! Thank you too all of you who have helped us get as far as we have. And to all those who say "I can't", we beg to differ. We invite you to take a look at the progress we have made as Olim with nothing and no connection and we say, well "Yes you can". How? Think of what you would really love, set yourself a goal, start where you are and take each step one at a time and each day one at a time and remember to do regular stock checks to notice the progress along the way.

I do admit that I have used my skills as an occupational therapist to begin working towards a lifelong dream. I realize that not everyone is trained as an OT and so I invite those of you who need a little help to be in touch. I do offer a service using my OT skills to help Olim to set realistic goals, to identify their dreams and to map out a path to help you to reach your dreams.  Do be in touch to schedule an appointment. If I could manage to be in Israel for over 12 years and to be working to reach my goals and dreams, so can you.

Have a blessed day everyone.

This post is prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Will Young Couples (and Others Without Their Own Homes) Ever Be Able to Own Their Own Homes in Israel? (Guest Post)

F.N.B - a friend on Facebook had the following to share regarding a new law that has just gone into effect in Israel. The law stipulates an increase in the purchase tax for real estate investors to 8%. Here's what F.N.B had to say:

Real estate purchase taxes for investors were supposed to go up to 8-10% on July 1st - but then suddenly two days ago the treasury dept changed the effective date to today causing havoc in the real estate market.

This whole tax increase thing is such BS because many of the apartments the treasury is trying to save for young couples are still not affordable to young couples making 10-15,000 ILS a month between two people.

If the goal is to help young people afford an apt then isolate apartments that suit younger people and offer incentives like 0% VAT on new projects and 0% Purchase Tax on first homes up to a reasonable threshold like 2,000,000 Shekel - better yet the government can release land for development at discounted prices and regulate the price a developer can charge on those specific projects.

Real estate is huge business for the government - 18% VAT on every new apartment sold plus 18% VAT on the cost of materials and services to build the buildings and on consulting fees like attorneys, agents, mortgages etc - plus Purchase Taxes and who pays the most in Purchase Taxes? INVESTORS - I highly doubt they think this will solve the housing crisis as much as they're hoping to gain higher tax revenues from investors.

At the end of the day - this change hurts everyone - especially young couples who can't afford to buy an apt on a 10,000-15,000 ILS a month household income - it's not enough to pay for life and save money for a 30% down payment plus expenses - and now that they still can't buy apartments, investors will pay more for these apartments and charge higher rents or not buy at all causing a rental crisis.

The winner in this game is the tax collector because once the dust settles, investors will buy and the taxes will be paid and rents will go up and nothing will change for the young people desperately trying to make ends meet.

The full article regarding the new tax can be read here: Treasury seeks instant investment property tax hike.

Welcoming Olim: Indeed, the housing crisis has become impossible to deal with for those earning minimum wage amounts, coming to Israel with no money at all, and for those just trying to get any start of life in Israel

Taxes areon the rise. Service providers (for real estate) are on the rise. Those selling are asking for more and are being able to invest further, however those who cannot make the start are left stranded. When will changes be made to assist those who have committed themselves to living in Israel and trying to make a start with limited funds? Are we encouraging others to come to Israel for the sake of convenience (everyone is doing it - you'll be okay - come on!) or are we serious enough to assist those in need of proper absorption? Where will help come from if not from those who have the ability to make real positive changes?


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