Messianic Jews have won another battle for recognition in Israel. This time a special judicial tribunal has determined that a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem should receive the same full tax exemption as a synagogue.
The battle began back in 2010, when ultra-Orthodox Members of Knesset Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism and Nisim Zeev of the Shas party passed a law providing Jewish synagogues relief from all municipal taxes. Lawyers from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) then petitioned the court to also provide a Messianic fellowship in the capital with the same status. And they won.
The ruling is significant in that it allows for full tax relief for all space used by the Messianic congregation, including the meeting hall, a drug rehabilitation center, children and youth activity rooms, pastors’ offices, and space for secondhand clothing distribution. According to JIJ, since the case began in 2010, congregations applying now for the discount will be paid back retroactively for all municipal taxes incurred over the last three years. The Jerusalem Institute for Justice is encouraging all Messianic Congregations paying municipal taxes on their facilities to apply for the tax break. The new ruling promises a major windfall of tens of thousands of shekels each year now available for Messianic congregations in Israel.
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