Taxes in Eretz Yisroel

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    In my other post about Aryeh Deri and the reprucussions for the possible tax evasion that he commited, someone commented the following:

    “Rav chaim kanievsky clearly wrote that israel, as an illegitimate state, has no right to impose taxes on its citizens. Rabbi Deri did some shtick to avoid taxes. According to the gadol hador, he did absolutely nothing wrong and has zero to do teshuvah for, even though it was illegal under israeli made-up law.

    So not only did he not do an aveirah, he did nothing wrong either, as there’s no moral imperative to pay taxes to an oppressive, anti religious shmad state, especially when most of it will go to fund things that are, actually, sinful, such as israeli public schools and the abominable gender-mixed army.”

    While I’m not convinced R’ Chaim said this, it seems like a very short sighted attitude. I am in no position to discuss the halachic topic of taxes, but those who take the position as described above, how would this work practically? I mean, if the taxes are illegitimate, then they are illegitiamte for everyone… religious or secular and everyone in between. In this day and age, taxes aren’t used to build the wealth of the monarch… they fund things that we all need and use every day. The army, police force, fire department, money for shuls yeshivos and schools, security and checkpoints, protecting our mekomos hakedoshim, roads, transportation, unemployment, and the list goes on.

    If there is no obligation or even moral impertive to pay taxes, and every single person who lived here followed that philosophy… is this a place where you would want to live? And if you wouldn’t fathom living in a place that provided zero services due to lack of funding, if you are benfitting from the very services that all of our taxes support, how can you claim there is no moral imperitive to pay?


    The Ran in Nedarim clearly paskens that Dina Dmalchusa doesn’t apply in Eretz Yisroel. The Ran writes Jews aren’t Halachicly obligated to pay taxes imposed by the rulers in Eretz Yisroel and that Dina Dmalchusa in general is Halachicly inapplicable in Eretz Yisroel.


    Simcha, good questions. You’re wondering why it’s ok to expect things that tax money goes to while not paying for it.

    My answer to that is “tut mir nisht ken tovos” – we didn’t ask for the state, we didn’t want it, and we believe it’s continued existence is a bad thing. They put us in a situation where they need to raise money for things to maintain their state, mostly for defense, so let the frei take care of their own mess. The frummer would be just fine if they were under a peaceful Arab or Western government. We don’t actively search for arab leadership anymore, because in the current political climate it would put millions of jewish lives in danger…. because of what the zionists did.

    It’s their mess, let them take care of it and leave us alone.


    Avira- the government is the government. I’m not convinced that we would be any better off under the British or the US or the Arabs. We want to live here, and there is a government that is making it possible. I don’t think that “if it’s not the best government ever, then I am exempt from paying all taxes while taking whatever I can from them” is a very cogent argument. We believe God runs the world, and this is how history has played out. Any government would require taxes and it seems disingenuous to claim that we are above the law. We want to love here, we need to use the governmental services, but since this isn’t the givernemtn that we handpicked, let the frei pay for our share. That argument doesn’t seem so yashar. Imposing on other people our share of taxes so we can benefit for free simply because we didn’t get to choose the government seems quite a convinient to take from others what they never agreed to give us.


    Ujm- as I understood it, it’s a machlokes between the Ran and other Rishonim. Does the Shulchan Arich and other early poskim bring down the Ran lehalacha? I was under the impression that they do not.

    Also, the Rans sevara is that no foreign government can demand we pay tax ,which is a form of rental payment, for Eretz Yisroel as we own Eretz Yisroel, not them. I’m not sure if the Rans psak would change as the function of taxes nowadays has nothing to do with permission to live here, but rather it’s paying for services that all citizens and residents utilize.

    Thirdly, my point was not about halacha. I thought I specifically made that point. Even if halacha doesn’t require us to pay taxes, then that would mean nobody is required to pay taxes. Is that a society we would want to be a part of? Practically speaking, following the letter of the law would create mass anarchy and a non functioning society. We wouldn’t want our society as a whole to abuse that Ran which would be disastrous for all of us… So it seems ingenious to use the Ran as an excuse for tax evasion when we fully expect and desire the rest of Israeli society to pick up the slack and pay for all the services we want and need but refuse to pay for because of the Ran.


    Ujm, rav chaim holds that you don’t need the ran in this case. The government itself is kma’an d’leisa.


    The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 369) quotes verbatim from the Rambam that one is obligated to pay taxes both in Eretz Yisroel as well as in other countries. Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l undoubtedly knew this and can’t have said as is reported above.

    Shimon Nodel

    It’s ok! If someone can be so helplessly misinformed as to believe that taxes are ‘mostly for defense’ then howdo you expect him to not be an am haaretz? The United States spends the most on defense, and it hovers around 5% of total spending. The sheer lack of knowledge and common sense is what’s constantly making all this egg noodles for brains


    Simcha, we’re not speaking about how good or bad a government is. Governments are imperfect. Some are better than others.

    Rav chaim’s point isn’t that the government isn’t good. He writes that it’s illegitimate. Built on sin. Doesn’t have the power of a malchus in halacha.



    Are you claiming that Harav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l didn’t pay taxes?


    Rabbi Shimon Schwab taught:

    “He who cheats in business or on his tax returns cannot be considered a religious Jew.”

    Seen in: Daily Halacha by Rabbi Eli Mansour


    Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 183, paragraph 3:

    “Similarly with all other taxes, it is forbidden to attempt to influence a government official to excuse him, because through this, the burden is increased for other [people].
    And whoever does this is called a betrayer [mosair].”


    Avirah so then don’t use the electricity or roads it provides.


    The sheer stupidity of assuming that 6 million yidden in EY would be better off living under a Palestinian or some other Arab overnment is both laughable and depressing. ANY governing authority would need to tax residents to raise the revenues needed for providing basic public services. I doubt R’ Chaim had really thought through how to maintain basic infrastructure and public services absent some form of taxation. Perhaps he was assuming that imposing “user fees” instead of calling the revenues “taxes” was somehow a way of circumventing the halachic concerns but that obviously would be a highly regressive form of taxation.


    Maybe I missed – what is the source of the alleged Rav psak? printed? whispered?

    is it reshus to not pay or a mitzva? what is eitza tova if you are caught?

    are any other gedolim on the record on that and did they pay taxes themselves?


    Shimon, Israel seemingly like US spends 5% of GDP on defense. Government budget (collected thru taxes) is at most 50% of GDP, so 10% of budget is for defense. This does not include other defense-like costs – police, FBI, maybe protection of cities near the border in Israel, etc.

    In addition to defense, there are many other “pareve” things government spends on – roads & bridges, pensions and help to poor, at least basics. I think if you are fundamentally opposed to a country, you should find a way to get out of that country and live somewhere where you feel comfortable paying taxes. This is exactly what Rambam suggests, and if not “go to the desert” as Hazon Ish suggested … I can see, for example, if you are a citizen of Iran, North Korea, or Russia – a part of your taxes will be spent on murdering people, and even 10% might make one uncomfortable. So, it is OK to feel this way towards Israeli government, and it is entirely possible nowadays to move to another country nearby or further away.

    This is like you come to a restaurant – and they you don’t like the food or even the kashrus. It is OK to go to another place, but not OK to eat first and then say you are not paying because it was burnt and treif.


    Rav chaim didn’t have taxable income, as far as i know, but i assume he wouldn’t if he did based on the psak.

    Re, roads etc, it’s an ones; we want to live in artzeinu hakedoshah, and to do so one needs to walk on the street.

    Square; i agree that paying taxes is important in general. However, you ahould know that America’s taxes might be different than what chazal refer to. They’re painfully exorbitant, and make owning property a liability. The government can literally evict an elderly widow who has no money to tax her own property that her family spenf 40 years earning to own. It’s a unique evil that an otherwise kind government allows


    where is the psak?

    I want to live in a mansion, but it belongs to someone else. Should I ignore that fact? if you don’t want to pay taxes, gezunte heig, just don’t use the roads you did not pay for.

    american taxes are a result of collective agreement. You (with previous generations) either came on Mayflower and were part of the agreement, or you came later and explicitly sign up to that system instead what you left behind in Romania. former slaves are the only ones who can complain, everyone else joined the agreement out of free will. We discuss this with the brit with Hashem, how is this different?

    american taxes are also part of the system that lead to high prosperity and are also lower than most comparable countries.



    Harav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l certainly didn’t tell anyone they were allowed to cheat on taxes and you must provide written proof before you claim that he approved of doing so. You’re playing with fire when you invent psak in the name of the Gadol Hador.


    Thank you, ujm. I am familiar with the ran. The ran can be teiched as saying that non-jewish governments cannot tax jews in israel but jewish governments may. According to Avira, Rav Chaim was speaking specifically about this current government. How can I see this letter from Rav Chaim?


    There is a much simpler simpler problem with Israeli taxes

    They are simply way way too high

    Unbelievably, some basic Israeli products cost less abroad than in Israel due to the high VAT …

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