Dalia Itzik - Tomer Appelbaum - June 29 2011
Dalia Itzik Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Food prices have climbed 26% in the last five years while the average wage increased 2.6%, says a study by the Knesset's research department commissioned by MK Dalia Itzik.

The index of food prices in the study increased more than the consumer price index over the same period. The food index climbed 26% from March 2006 to March 2011. During that time, the consumer price index rose 14.5%.

The average wage mentioned above is adjusted for inflation and refers to Israeli workers on salary, in current prices. (Not adjusted for inflation, the average wage increased 17.5% over the last five years. )

From March 2006 to March 2011, the index tracking fresh fruit and vegetables increased 35.8%, the study found.

The paper was written by Tamir Agmon of the Knesset's Research and Information Department. He adds that the minimum wage increased 12.5% in those five years, before adjusting for inflation. After adjusting, the minimum wage decreased 1.7%. Also, supplementary income for senior citizens (up to age 70 ) increased 26.6% over the five-year period, roughly in keeping with the increase in the food index, but less than the increase in fresh fruit and vegetables.

"The report shows that cottage cheese and dairy products were just a symptom of a much wider problem," Itzik said yesterday. The problem isn't just that prices are rising, it's that income isn't rising at the same pace, she added.

Also yesterday, speaking at a Knesset discussion to celebrate "Blue & White Day," MK Reuven Rivlin said the cottage cheese uproar "revealed a process" of foreign investment funds buying Israeli companies to maximize their profits. He called on Israelis not to sell their companies to foreigners.