Vote Delayed on Measures to Reduce Cost of Living for Israelis

Further Trajtenberg Committee recommendations were up for approval, but vote delayed until next Sunday; proposals include reductions in gas, petrol costs, benefits for online shopping.

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promises that a vote on benefits to further reduce the cost of living for Israelis would take place Sunday, a meeting to make a decision on whether or not to adopt measures to reduce the cost of living for Israeli ended without resolution.

A vote on the competition chapter of the Trajtenberg Committee recommendations will now take place next Sunday instead.
Speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said “We will vote today on further benefits to reduce the cost of living in Israel."

Trajtenberg and Netanyahu - Avi Ohayon / Prime Minister’s Bureau - October 2011
Avi Ohayon / Prime Minister’s Bureau

“The benefits reduce the price of housing, travel and public transport, and are intended to reduce the costs of gas and petrol. There is also good news for those who buy online – there will be an exemption from customs clearance payments worth up to 1,000 shekels.”

The meeting over the measures today will deal with the approval of the chapter on competition in the recommendations put together by the Trajtenberg Committee, formulated in the aftermath of Israel's social protests this summer. The chapter on taxes received government approval about a month ago.

The economic measures due to be approved today include a proposal to allow for more gas stations to be built as a means for lowering fuel costs. The proposal, one of a package aimed at broadening competition in the market to counter Israel's high cost of living, would ease regulatory measures to expedite the establishment of more stations, which would then increase competition and lead to lower fuel costs.

Government sources said that it was very important for Netanyahu to first approve the Trajtenberg Committee recommendations on taxes and prices, so that Israeli citizens could feel the impact of the recommendations in their pockets. In the coming weeks, Netanyahu will make an effort to approve the remaining chapters of the Trajtenberg recommendations, according to the sources.

The recommendations that are up for approval today bring “further steps that we are taking in addition to the tax benefits that we have already approved, benefits that together are worth hundreds of thousands of shekels a month,” said Netanyahu.

“We are able to follow this path as a result of the responsible manner in which we are managing Israel’s economy,” he said.

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