Religion Magazine

There Was Recently a Situation in Which Bituach Leumi Sen...

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
There was recently a situation in which Bituach Leumi sent letters to many thousands of people, yeshiva students and avreichim, claiming that they had never paid their Bituach Leumi payments since they had turned 18 and now, 8 years or so later, are obligated to pay it all plus interest and linkage to inflation.
Bituach Leumi is a scummy organization. Perhaps that is no different than any government organization, but that is the way it is. They do things like this all the time. People who move away from Israel continue to have to pay Bituach Leumi monthly payments. They don't get any letters or warnings, but 10, 15 or 20 years later when the person comes back to Israel, suddenly he is slapped with a debt of hundreds of thousands of shekels including interest and inflation. Kids turning 18 do not register, and years later they get these bills....Along with many other unclear situations in which similar things happen.
Bituach Leumi seems to have made it part of their business model to prey on people's lack of clarity in how Bituach Leumi and the payments work (it is very complicated) and take advantage of it to earn lots of money in interest payments.
Hopefully that will soon come to an end.
Many people recently brought their surprising letters to MK Eichler (UTJ) not knowing what to do with them. How can an avreich with no money suddenly pay tens of thousands of shekels in back payments? All along he could have managed to pay his minimum monthly payments (167nis per month per unemployed person, and 124nis per month for students and yeshiva students), but to get 8 or 10 years worth of payments in a bill all at once? Impossible.
Bituach Leumi came to an agreement with Eichler that they would allow all these people to pay off the debt in [up to 48] payments, and only pay the original debt and not interest or inflation.
More importantly for everyone else, Bituach Leumi is now obligated to inform people of their obligation to pay and send them requests for payment from the moment they become obligated to pay.
This is a good thing..
As soon as a person turns 18, or any other scenario, Bituach Leumi will have to send a letter and a bill explaining the requirement to pay the monthly fee.
All that being said, the people involved are a bit negligent. Even if most Israelis do not understand the complexities of Bituach Leumi and how the payments are calculated, let alone the rights and benefits people are entitled to as a result of those payments, Israelis do know that once they turn 18 they have to pay Bituach Leumi and need to take care of it. This was not the first time something like this happened, and all parents know that their kid turning 18 means he or she is no longer under the parents payments any longer. All these people were negligent in ignoring and avoiding doing what they really knew they needed to do.
source: Kikar
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