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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss reiterated his opinion submitted two weeks ago against increasing water rates. On submitting his report yesterday to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, he said in hindsight he would perhaps have expanded his opinion.

Lindenstrauss was criticized by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the comptroller should not handle policy issues, and the finance minister, who said "if he continues to address policy matters, we may need to appoint an auditor."

Lindenstrauss shrugged off the criticism. "I feel there is a wish to argue about the activities and authority of the State Comptroller's office," he said. "We have acted to the extent of our [legal] authority."

He stressed that while criticism is important, he would prefer it be practical. "I am not referring to the prime minister or finance minister, but those who haven't seen the report or read its findings on the cost of water."

Meanwhile, the Knesset approved a bill submitted by MK Moshe Gafni which would suspend the drought tax until December 31, 2010. The tax has already been suspended until April of this year.