N. American Olim Should Be Exempt from Israeli Travel Tax, Parents Demand

The parents of young Americans and Canadians who have immigrated to Israel are demanding that their children not be required to pay the travel tax levied on all Israeli citizens who travel abroad.

A resolution demanding that “olim travelling on visits to their families be exempt from this tax” was adopted by the 180 delegates attending the three day conference here of the Association of Parents of North American Israelis. Norman Moscowitz, a delegate from Albany, N.Y., warned that “If nothing is done about the tax, the money will come out of our United Jewish Appeal donations.”

Moscowitz expressed the strong feelings of the parents when he declared, “We are not a bottomless pit of money. Our children’s visits from Israel are a high priority. We can’t pay so much and we certainly don’t expect our children to pay.”

The tax, a consequence of Israel’s foreign currency drain, is currently $100 per capita, including minor children. The Knesset is considering raising it to $200 for the peak summer travel season. Last summer it was $300.

One delegate compared the travel tax to the tax Soviet Bloc countries impose on Jewish emigrants to pay for their free educations and other benefits. “We believe in democracy and this tax is not democratic,” he said. “If Israel needs to raise the money, it should be done in some other way.”

An amendment to the resolution urging abolition of the travel tax was narrowly defeated.

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