Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On and fellow MK Raleb Majadale (Labor) called for the government to cancel its tender for the sale of Eilat Port Company Sunday, after Israel Chemicals, a unit of Ofer Brothers Group subsidiary Israel Chemicals, was left as the only remaining candidate.

Gal-On called the potential sale a “scandal,” saying that this “reckless privatization” would only increase the level of concentration in the shipping industry. She criticized the committee overseeing the tender for ignoring the fact that Israel Chemicals controls a chemical terminal at Eilat seaport and that the Ofer Group also owns the Zim shipping company.

“For months we have been warning relevant ministers and professionals that this privatization will be a repeat of past privatizations that benefited these same people who are used to buying public assets for nothing,” Gal- On said.

“The government must free itself of its obsession with privatization and keep Eilat Port in the hands of the state, especially when the alternative is its sale to the Ofer Brothers – which will harm the public and pocket millions at the expense of future state revenues.”

Israel Chemicals officials said in response that attempts to disqualify it from a legitimate tender are dangerously populist, and pointed out that the company is the largest employer in the South and the largest exporter in the entire country.

The officials added that those who oppose awarding them the tender prefer that the port be purchased by somebody else who cares less about its future and its workers.

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