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Paying Bituach Leumi


Since moving from E”Y to Chu”l we were informed that we owe some money to Bituach Leumi, with interest.
1) I saw a different question in 2014 in which one of the Rabbanim wrote that the State has a heter iska. Is that still correct? Is there any problem with us paying them the interest?
2) Is this a question that would relate to shemita/pruzbul because we owed them the money from before the shemita year ended?
Thank you so much




The poskim say that Bituach Leumi interest payments may be paid as they are not considered ribbis. The reason is because the payments are a tax that the government places on its citizens and it charges are not a loan. Ribbis only applies when a loan is given, and the borrower is paying the lender more than what he was given. The government didn’t give you money, for which they are now charging interest. They decided that you have to give them money, and now they decided that you have to give them an addition to what they demanded beforehand. Therefore, the halachos of ribbis are not relevant here. By the way the same would apply to interest charges on a parking or speeding ticket. It is not considered ribbis because no loan was given, it is interest in a fine.

Aside from this this do have a heter iska, in general though it is best not to rely on it. Additionally, there are times that you can get out of paying them the interest. It is possible to negotiate with them and tell them that you didn’t know about the charge, and that you will pay the whole money up front, but that they should forgo the interest charges. Sometimes they will be willing to do this.

As far as I know the state does make a pruzbul.

Best wishes


Toras Ribbis 10- 69, Nesivos Shalom siman 176-7 (25), Binas Hamishpat 2 79 (3), Sharei Horaah 8 pg. 160, Bris Pinchos 17-55.


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