News

November 2017

A new bill, recently published and made open to public remarks by the Ministry of Justice, aims to change a basic Israeli property law rule, whereby land ownership extends to everything below and above the land and allow for the parceling of land to third-dimensional plots that will be the subject of distinct rights and transactions. According to Adv. Yuval Gal-On, a partner in our firm, this is an admirable proposal, which shall formally and legally establish a rule already applied by different professionals in the real-estate market, and which shall generate great economic benefit and may even bring about significant breakthroughs in the field of real estate.

November 2017

A hundred and thirty two farmers and farm owners from the Merom HaGalil Regional Council area have filed a claim to the Tel-Aviv District Court against the Israel Electric Corporation demanding compensation of about 9 million NIS. The claimants assert that in December of 2013, and due to the negligence of the Electric Corporation, a large number of electric power lines supplying the area of Merom HaGalil had stopped working during a nationwide bout of extreme weather conditions. As a result, the claimants’ farms were disconnected from electricity for several days and suffered significant damages. Should the claimants’ arguments be accepted, then the Electric Corporation may be liable for damages caused by extreme weather conditions, including because of inadequate preparations for such events. Such a ruling is expected to cause many other similar claims to be filed against the Electric Corporation. The statement of claim against the Electric Corporation was filed by Adv. Eliran Strichman of our firm on behalf of the claimants.

October 17

Four residents of Ramat Hashron filed a petition to the administrative court in Tel Aviv against the Tel Aviv District Planning Committee and a group of entrepreneurs where they demand to withdraw a zoning plan for the erection of 285 new residential units in high urban density buildings, in the Shtil neighborhood of Ramat Hashron. The petition asserts that the new zoning plan is deeply damaging to the nature and character of the neighborhood, that it will scarcely lower the urban density in Ramat Hasharon and will further hinder the zoning approval process. The petition was filed by Adv. Ron Tzin and Adv. Nitzan Zimran, of our firm ,on behalf of the residents.

October 17

The District Court in Lod rejected a NIS 26 million claim filed by Yahad Yazamot Ltd. against the Givat Shmuel municipality, which was represented by attorneys Amir Witkon and Ron Tzin, Senior partners in our firm. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants agreed to grant them with building rights in property owned by the defendants, in return for the evacuation of invaders who occupied it. The District Court accepted the defendants' argument and ruled that the plaintiff was not given a binding governmental guarantee. Furthermore, the court rejected the claim due to statute of limitations and estoppel, in light of previous legal proceedings that were conducted between the parties.

August 17

One of the principles that has taken a significant place in environmental legislation in recent years is the precautionary principle. The main purpose of this principle is the avoidance of any action that may cause damage to the environment and the adoption of a policy that will prevent the occurrence of environmental hazards. This principle is expressed, inter allia, in the adoption of an "internal enforcement policy", rules determined by the corporation itself, which will lead to the prevention or a reduction of the environmental risks that may arise during the corporation's ongoing activity. In recent years, we witness an encouragement by the regulatory authorities to the adoption of internal enforcement policy. In fact, the courts in Israel have acquitted corporations and their officers, against whom criminal proceedings were conducted, following the existence of an internal enforcement policy.

July 17

Similar to the global trend, the waste treatment policy in Israel shifts to an extended "Producer Warranty" regime, according to which importers and manufacturers are required to bear the cost of the later damages of the use in the products they put into use in the market. This trend is reflected in a number of environmental laws, which require producers to engage with a "Recognized" entity in order to obtain a kind of immunity from enforcement procedures. Surprisingly, this immunity does not apply in regards to companies which operate in the field to tires, under the Tire Disposal and Recycling Law, 2007. It can be assumed that the reason is coincidental, due to the fact that the tires law was enacted several years prior to the enactment of the Packaging Prices Regulation Law, 5771-2011. As a result, there was a great deal resentment among tire manufacturers and importers, especially when the official of the Tire Law informed them he intends to impose them with financial sanctions in this regard.

April 17

In an attempt to deal with the environmental implications of industrial and human activity, and further to global regulatory procedures, Israel has also enacted new environmental laws in recent years, particularly in the areas of waste management and air pollution. In addition, in order to play a more significant role in protecting nature, its resources, and its species, the Israeli government has determined that every government ministry will form a strategic plan in this regard. Accordingly, the Ministry of Environmental Protection formed the National Plan for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Israel, published in 2010. The "green" trend has also penetrated the private sector, and is reflected in the fact that many companies are carrying out projects that will help them improve their use of natural resources, reduce the damage to environment, and preserve biodiversity in their fields of activity. In fact, there are many examples from the past few years of the rise of the prestige and importance of the value of preserving nature. In an article by Attorney Gal Snir of our firm, the author argues that nature and the species that live in it are a deposit that we have been entrusted with for the future generations, and that we all are expected to respect these values as well.

April 17

In 2004, on behalf of farmers from Rosh Pina, attorneys Amir Witkon and Lital Barsheshat of our firm, filed a claim against Mekorot, which later became a class action, alleging that Mekorot unlawfully charged the claiments with payments for water consumption, which allegedly exceeded the quota allocated to them. Mekorot claimed that the payments were in fact charged as a return for its investment in the infrastructure of the production and transportation of the water. The plaintiffs replied that the use of infrastructure is is already included in the water levy, and therefore Mekorot is not entitled to charge an extra payment for such use. In 2011, Mekorot announced that it would cease from charging its customers from the aforesaid payments, however the litigation in this regard continued. Recently, the Tel Aviv District Court approved a settlement between the parties, according to which Mekorot will refund the unlawfully charged payments to the plaintiffs and to its end customers.

March 17

The plan of the Committee for Preferred Housing for the expansion of the city of Lod on the expenses of the land in Nir Tzvi council is causing a great deal of resentment among the Regional Council of Emek Lod. According to the Committee, the goal of the plan is to turn the city of Lod to a preferred alternative for living in the center of the Israel. However, the lands in which the Plan relates to are not within the municipal boundaries of Lod, but in the jurisdiction of the Emek Lod Regional Council. On August 2016, The Emek Lod Regional Council, the Emek Lod Local Council for Planning and Construction, and Nir Zvi municipality filed a petition to the High Court of Justice, demanding the annulment of the decision to expand the territory of the city of Lod on the expenss of the regional council and the Nir Zvi municipality. The petition, filed by attorneys Yuval Gal-On, Dan Or and Mordechai Gadansky of our firm, claimed that while the Boundary Committee is procrastinating in examining and determining the boundaries between the authorities, the National Council unlawfully recommends the government to withdraw hundreds of acres of land from the regional council.

January 2017

The "Kol Israel Haverim" project in Jerusalem benefits the wealth of entrepreneurs, on the expenses of public rights. This claim was raised by attorneys Yuval Gal-On and Mordechai Gadansky of our firm, on behalf of the residents of Jerusalem. According to the residents of Jerusalem, the 8 acers project, which will be built between the Mahaneh Yehuda market, Agrips Street and the Etz Hayim compound, will turn the heart of the city to a "Transportation nightmare" will increase the existing traffic load at the Agrips-KI"H intersection and will cause problems in access and mobility in the area. In response to the aforesaid claim, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee noted that all the objections received regarding the project would be heard and discussed during the Committee's deliberations.

January 2017

The financial newspaper "The Marker" published an article referring to the possible merger of the municipalities of Bat-Yam and Tel Aviv-Yaffo. The Minister of Interior Mr. Arie Dery, has been conducting final discussions before reaching a decision with respect to the possible merger of the Municipality of Bat-Yam with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and accordingly he has recently met with the mayors of both cities in order to receive their reference to this suggestion. This suggestion comes due to the recommendations of an investigation committee established in order to examine the merger, according to which the suggested merger between the two municipalities should be consumated within a relatively short schedule and by 2018 the residents of both cities should elect a common mayor and city council. The described meetings were held following the receipt of references by the municipalities of Rishon Lezion and Holon who together with Tel Aviv supported the idea of the suggested merger, in contrast to the Municipality of Bat Yam who was extremely opposed to such merger. The municipality of Tel Aviv noted in this regard that although it supports the idea of the suggested merger between the two cities, it is not prepared to provide Bat Yam with any funds prior to the consummation of the merger as there is no justification, so argued, that the Municipality of Tel Aviv or its residents will cover the deficit of Bat Yam. In this regard, it was noted that the three municipalities are currently conducting joint legal proceedings, through the representation of Adv. Ofer Bar-On a senior partner of our firm, demanding to appoint an accountant on behalf of the court to the Municipality of Bat Yam based on arguments of irresponsible financial conduct of Bat Yam which lead to their material deficit. The Municipality of Bat Yam attacked the recommendations of the committee and argued that "the committee was not granted the authority to nullify the city of Bat Yam, and its purpose was only to provide its recommendations to the Minister whether it is suggested to establish a new city comprising of Bat Yam and Tel Aviv. Any suggestion of merger must be accompanied by operative suggestions which will ensure equal, balanced and effective standing to both authorities".

December 2016

The financial newspaper "The Marker" recently published an article written by Adv. Ron Tzin, a senior partner of our firm, referring to the dramatic judgment issued by the Supreme Court according to which, the customary practice which has been common throughout recent decades and according to which local planning and zoning committees demand to receive letters of indemnification from private entrepreneurs with respect to claims filed according to section 197 to the planning and zoning laws as a condition for the promotion of a plan, is illegal as such demands are made without any authority to do so. According to Adv. Tzin, the abovementioned judgment, denying the authority of the local committees to demand letters of indemnification from private entrepreneurs, creates material problems for such committees due to the fact that without such indemnities, they are in fact paralyzed as they will not dare to authorize any plan which may expose them to financial burdens. Therefore and in light of the material interests involved in this matter, it can be expected, according to Adv. Tzin, that to the extent that the judgment will not be overruled in an additional hearing, the matter will be brought before the legislator who will be required to discuss and set clear rules and regulations in this regard.

November 2016

The administrative court of the central district recently ordered to return the general plan applicaple to Rishon Lezion to the District Committee for Planning and Zoning for objections, due to a petition filed by "Shupersal" represented by Adv. Ron Tzin and Sivan Rozenblat of our firm, arguing that the general plan does not include reference to affordable housing, as required. Shupersal argued within the petition that the suggested applicable general plan must include reference to the issue of affordable housing and that the committee's decision not to discuss such issue in such a wide scope general plan is extremely irreasonable. Although the Court finaly resolved that the decision taken by the District Committee not to allow Shupersal to initiate affordable housing plans with respect to its land was reasonable, Adv. Tzin stated that he is hopeful that due to the acceptance of most of the arguments raised within the petition, Shupersal's request will now be seriously considered.

September 17

The Regional Council of Emek Lod, together with the Local Committee for Planning and Zoning of Emek Lod and Moshav Nir Zvi filed a petition to the Supreme Court, in its capacity as the High Court of Justice, against the National Committee for Planning and Zoning and its respective committees as well as the Government of Israel and the Lod Municipality, demanding to dismiss a row of decisions reached by them for purposes of expanding the suburban composition of the cities Ramle-Lod, on the expense of the Regional Council and Moshav Nir Tzvi. It was argued within the petition, filed by Adv. Yuval Gal-On, Dan Or and Mordechai Gedanski of our firm, that the National Committee does not have the authority to examine all aspects pertaining to the expansion of Lod. This matter, so argued, should be examined within a procedure for determination of boundaries, as being conducted these days by professional teams which specialize in such field. It was further argued that the decisions reached with regard to the suburban composition of Ramle-Lod are extremely unreasonable as planning teams appointed by the very same National Committee which reached such decisions are currently engaged in the planning of a new overall plan which will apply to the city of Lod and in such plan it was determined that there is no justification to expand the jurisdiction of the city Lod beyond the boundaries which currently exist. As to the expropriation of lands owned by Moshav Nir Tzvi it was argued that diminution of additional land of the Moshav will harm the existence of agriculture in the Moshav and will in fact transform Nir Tzvi into a suburban residential neighborhood with no material justification.

September 17

The popular financial newspaper "The Marker" published an article written by Adv. Gal Snir, Head of Environmental Regulation in our firm, in which he indicates of the difficulties in collection of Landfill Levies from local authorities and factories which elect to bury waste rather than recycle. According to Adv. Gal, the difficulties arise due to the fact that currently, the monies of the Levies are not directed towards actions which were intended to be promoted by the Cleaning Fund (in which the monies are accumulated) and principally, assistance in the establishment of new recycling facilities.

May 2016

The municipalities of Tel Aviv, Holon and Rishon Lezion have recently submitted a petition, via advocates Ofer Bar-On, Motti Gadanski and Natali Ben David of our firm, to the Supreme Court, demanding that the Ministry of Interior appoints an escorting accountant on its behalf to the Municipality of Bat Yam. Within the petition, the municipalities, which the option of them being merged with the Municipality of Bat Yam is being assessed, argue that the Minister of Interior has many powers as to the rehabilitation and financial stabling of a municipality such as Bat Yam, which faces financial difficulties and ongoing accumulating debts, that without the municipality needing to request to receive income from neighboring municipalities (such as the petitioners). One of such powers vested with the Minister of Interior is the power to appoint an escorting accountant on its behalf. In the case of Bat Yam, so argued by the petitioners, all the required circumstances for the appointment of such accountant apply. To the extent that the Supreme Court will accept the petitioners' demand and decide to order that an accountant be appointed as requested, the Municipality of Bat Yam will be conducted under a strict plan for its financial rehabilitation. Furthermore, every expense which the municipality or its mayor will request to perform, will be carefully examined by the escorting accountant.

May 2016

The real estate column of the financial newspaper "The Marker", recently published a study performed by advocate Ron Tzin, a senior partner of our firm, who examined the degree of influence which objections submitted by private and public entities with regard to plans deliberated in district committees for planning and construction have. According to the study, which received wide publishing, amongst all the objections submitted by public entities, approximately 50% were accepted whereas amongst all the objections submitted by private entities, only 30% of the arguments were accepted. According to adv. Tzin, who examined 310 plans (out of approximately 4,500 which were submitted during 2015) "even though statistically, the numbers are relatively impressive, taking into account the entrepreneurs and environmental organizations, the figures receive different proportions. When one reads and examines the substance of the decisions issued, it reveals a grim picture according to which the objectors are no more than a control group of the plan. The contribution of the control group to the plan is a type of proofreading but it cannot lead to material changes in the plan. The cases in which a plan that the district committee decided to deposit according to the recommendation of a district planner, is declined or materially changed due to an objection submitted, are rare, if at all existent."

April 2016

Advocate Yuval Gal-On, a senior partner of our firm, participated in a convention of mayors organized by the rating agency D&B, hosted by Mr. Hagay Golan, editor of the financial newspaper "Globes", during which the participants deliberated various topics mayors find to be distressing these days, amongst others, the topic of urban renewal. Adv. Gal-On argued within the debate that the demand by the municipalities towards the government should be openings for employees and engineers as the main problem these days is that the municipalities do not handle the burden. Adv. Gal-On advised that the municipalities address the Supreme Court in order for the government to start acknowledging them.

April 2016

The District Court in Tel Aviv, ordered the Israeli Railway Company to cancel a decision reached by its tender committee concerning the obtaining of measurement services for projects throughout Israel. The company, "M.T.B. Measurements and photgrametria", who won the tender published by the Railway Company in 2013, along with several other companies, addressed the court, via advocates Amir Witkon and Yaron Silver of our firm, after the Railway Company decided not to extend the contract with the company, in contrast to the other companies who were all granted with respective extensions to their contracts, all even though the Railway Company admitted that the services received by the company as well as the prices it offered were the best. As mentioned above, the court ordered the Railway Company to cancel its tender committee's decision and ordered it to pay the company's legal expenses.