(photo credit: Associated Press)
Both coalition and opposition MKs Monday complained emphatically against the
gasoline price hike that went into effect at midnight Monday night.
increase in fuel costs was the subject of Kadima’s no-confidence motion that the
opposition party presented on the plenum floor early Monday
“Netanyahu is raising the prices of gasoline and is scorning
the middle class and the weak sectors,” complained Aryeh Bibi (Kadima). “It is
no embarrassment to admit a mistake and to reduce the gasoline prices to what
they were six months ago.
“It is said that the economy powers the wheels
of history,” he continued. “In these very days we see history before us, as
nations around us go out to mass demonstrations against dictators, to fight for
equality of rights and basic values – and especially due to the economic
situation, when prices for basic commodities skyrocketed.”
prices hit an all-time high at midnight, with a liter of 95 octane gas now
costing NIS 7.26. It breaks the previous high of NIS 7.14 set last
The main reasons cited for the hike are rises in the price of
petroleum worldwide, as well as tax hikes and the strengthening of the dollar.
This is the third gas price increase over the past 18 months.
gasoline prices are among the highest in the world. Throughout the Middle East,
the governments of petroleum producing countries heavily subsidize the purchase
of gas, making the prices of fraction of those in Israel, a non-petroleum
Opposition members were not alone in their criticism
of the price hike. Economic Affairs Committee Chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen
(Likud) fired off a missive to Coalition Chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) in which
he asked for a debate within the Likud Knesset faction regarding the rise in
“Israel’s citizens, including Likud supporters, see us
as directly and exclusively responsible for the gas crisis,” complained
“It would be a pity if the wonderful accomplishments of
this government regarding the economy are swallowed by the hard feelings of the
public, who don’t understand – and rightly so – why they need to pay much more
than European nations. The average citizen has not met with the heads of the
OECD, the IMF or the World Bank, but does meet – on a weekly basis – the gas
pump which pumps too much money out of their pocket each month,” Shama
Similarly, Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said
that the government should not have raised gasoline prices while simultaneously
reducing direct taxes and business taxes. Responding to a request by Ya’acov
Edri (Kadima) for an urgent Finance Committee meeting on the price hikes, Gafni
said that the government must change its tax policy to prevent additional price
increases in other products as well.
Gafni, like Bibi, drew parallels
between public unrest in Egypt and rising costs of living under the Netanyahu
administration. Gafni also threatened that he would no longer support as Finance
Committee chairman, any more reductions in direct taxes.