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The global rise in fuel prices is expected to lead to a price hike for plane tickets, taxi rides and heating fuel, although electricity prices as well as bus and train tickets will remain unchanged.

Taxi prices are adjusted twice a year and were in any case expected to go up by about 4 percent in the coming weeks. In August the price of a taxi ride went up by 5 percent.

But for now electricity prices are not expected to rise because the Israel Electric Corporation uses very little of the kind of oil becoming more expensive.

El Al Israel Airlines announced yesterday it was raising its prices to cover the added cost of jet fuel.

It would be tacking on $44 to round-trip tickets to short-haul destinations and $90 to round-trip tickets for longer flights.

Last month, El Al raised prices by between $16 and $32; other airlines serving Israel are expected to follow suit.

El Al's deputy CEO for trade and code sharing, David Maimon, said prices for tickets issued by March 4 would not go up, nor would bonus tickets paid for by El Al's frequent flyers' club.

The Histadrut labor federation, which did not oppose the rise in fuel costs, said it was focusing on talks with the Finance Ministry to prevent a rise in water and food prices.

It was also concentrating on housing policy to help young couples.

Union working

The Histadrut is also working to reach an agreement with employers' representatives and the government on raising the minimum wage in two stages.

The minimum wage is currently NIS 3,850 a month.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz yesterday to freeze the VAT on fuel for a year or at least until the end of the current crisis in the Arab world.

Yishai said the rise in fuel prices after the government had worked to lower them would be too much for the public to bear and the government had to find a solution quickly.