(Haaretz) The year 1929 saw a multitude of economic catastrophes. The financial crisis started in the United States with the collapse of the stock market, leading to a prolonged and unprecedented depression. Thousands of miles away, in Mandatory Palestine, a tax collection ordinance was enacted, regulating measures for the collection of taxes and unpaid debts.
This ordinance served the mandatory civil service well, enabling it to swiftly collect unpaid debts. With the stroke of a pen, authorities could quickly take possession of the assets of unruly natives who did not pay their debts in a timely manner.
What was good for the British authorities quickly proved to be just as good for the Finance Ministry, which now applies the same ordinance when dealing with unpaid municipal and local authority taxes. Eighty-three years after it was enacted, the ordinance still serves city hall well – at the expense of debtors’ rights.