Income Tax: Foreign Journalists in Israel

Did the Income Tax Authority in Israel decide to harass hundreds of foreign media personnel in Israel for their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Yitzhaq Srok, an official from the Income Tax Authority approached this week the Director of the Israeli Government Press Office asking for information on those working with the foreign media in Israel.

Official sources at the Income Tax Authority stated that this step was taken because “it is known to us that a large number of foreign media personnel are not paying income tax”.

“It was decided that if those working for foreign media fail to prove that they pay taxes in their countries, they will be asked to pay in Israel, and if found that they are giving false information about their income, this may lead to take legal measures against them”.

The Israeli Government Press office has given information on all those working with the foreign media including British, German, Arab and American news agencies.

Tami Frost, vice chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Isreal said that “the timing of this investigation raises many questions about their intentions, we find it very strange, which makes us suspects that this is another stage of the continuous harassment by the Isreali authorities against foreign journalists in Israel”.

Government Press Office officials responede to Frost’s statement by saying “This is not revenge against foreign journalists for the unbalanced coverage of the Intifada, but is rather a routine procedure. We are talking about an issue that has not been examined for a long time and we had reports that a large number of foreign journalists are illegal in this regard. Despite this, we are not accusing all foreign journalists if not all are acting illegally”.

Danny Seaman, Director of the Government press office said “Those who implement the law do not have to worry”.

This report first appeared on ArabYnet, the Arabic website for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahranot. Translated by Walid Batrawi.