Israel Cabinet Approves Measures to Lower Cost of Living in Israel

Competition portion of Trajtenberg report strengthens power of anti-trust commissioner, opens up ports, certain markets to increased competition; decision on free education for 3 to 4 year olds postponed.

The cabinet approved on Sunday recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic Change to reduce the cost of living in Israel.

The measures are part of the competition chapter in the commitee's recommendations, and their approval is another effect of the tumultuous summer of social protests across Israel.

Trajtenberg and Netanyahu - Avi Ohayon / Prime Minister’s Bureau - October 2011
Netanyahu with Trajtenberg earlier this year. Avi Ohayon / Prime Minister’s Bureau

The measures will reinforce the mandate of the anti-trust commissioner, subject the diesel and home gas markets to supervision, increase competition in the cement market, open Israeli ports up to competition, with private terminals opened in Haifa and Ashdod, and reinforce competition in the marketing of eggs, cheese and milk.

The recommendations also included measures to improve public transportation.

Despite the approval, decisions on some of the committee’s central recommendations, such as a reduction in the defense budget, implementing free and compulsory education for children aged three to four, and measures related to the employment Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jews will be discussed at a later date.

The Knesset approved the tax portion of the Trajtenberg Committee report earlier this month. Among the amendments to Israel’s tax law was a monthly addition of NIS 418 to fathers of children under the age of 3. These measures will take effect starting January 2012.

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