Reuven Rivlin milking cow 311.
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
Another meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Industry, Trade and
Labor Minister Shalom Simhon and other senior ministers on the dairy-market
crisis ended without resolution late Thursday.
Netanyahu and the
ministers met with Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry director-general Sharon
Kedmi, who heads a committee working on solutions to the crisis, and other
people involved in the dairy industry, before holding a closed-door session for
cabinet members only.
The main stumbling block was over a dispute between
Simhon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz over the quantity of hard cheese
permitted for import, Simhon’s spokesperson said.
During the meeting,
Simhon presented Netanyahu with a report showing that profit margins in Israel’s
retail industry are among the highest in the world, which the spokesperson said
was “received with astonishment.”
Netanyahu has appointed Prime
Minister’s Office director-general Eyal Gabbai to try to bridge the gaps between
Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and members of the
legislature’s Economic Affairs Committee visited two dairy farms in the northern
Negev and coastal plains on Thursday, against the backdrop of the debate over
Rivlin said he had faith in the committee’s
ability to make the right judgment once the Kedmi Committee presents solutions
to the dairy crisis, which he said the Government would not be able to
Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) said the dairy
farms provided “an outstanding example of the added ethical and Zionist value of
the dairy industry, which must be taken into account.”
agriculture lobby chairman Shai Hermesh said a 10-agorot cut in the target price
of dairy products would translate to a NIS 130 million loss for dairy farmers. A
dairy farmer’s wage typically goes no higher than NIS 10,000 a month, he said,
and the suggested cut would bring this down to NIS 5,000.