PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Israeli shopper’s horizons widened considerably on Sunday when the cabinet
approved Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s directive to make purchases of
goods over the Internet up to NIS 1,200 exempt from customs duty.
tax exemption on Internet purchases will increase competitiveness and lower
prices,” Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting where various recommendations of
the Trajtenberg Committee were scheduled to be discussed and voted
cabinet on Sunday was expected to approve a string of measures to bring
down living costs, including opening the country’s cement market to
competition, and removing duty on Internet purchases of up to NIS 1,200.
Netanyahu said Sunday that the benefits would save Israelis "hundreds
of shekels each month."RELATED:
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Goods – excluding tobacco or alcohol – ordered for private use and
sent by either mail or air freight will be exempt from duty. The exemption does
not require legislation to go into effect and will begin as soon as Finance
Minister Yuval Steinitz signs the order, something expected in the near
The cabinet meeting was cut short and only the Internet clause
was approved on Sunday because of a massive traffic jam on the Jerusalem-Tel
Aviv highway caused by a burning bus that delayed the arrival of several
ministers, and also because the ministers went to a memorial service for former
prime minister David Ben- Gurion at Sde Boker.
Other steps to reduce the
cost of living recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee are to be discussed at
next Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu said these
recommendations need an in-depth discussion where every minister will be able to
“This is an important discussion we have waited for already for 20
years,” he said.
Netanyahu said the benefits that the cabinet will
discuss are intended to “reduce the cost of housing and travel on public
transportation, and are designed to assist in lowering gas and fuel
Among the steps that will be taken up at a next week’s cabinet
meeting are: • Opening the country’s cement market – currently dominated by
Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises – to greater competition and placing cement
prices under government supervision.
• Putting dairy products and eggs
under supervision to bring down their prices.
• Strengthening the
country’s Antitrust Authority to give it more effective tools to “monitor deviations in the economy.”
the number of bodies providing public transportation to reduce fares.
Reducing the price of gas for homes, bringing it in line with gas prices paid by
• Increasing competition in the fuel market by opening 40 new
gasoline stations, and placing the price of diesel fuel under
Netanyahu said the government is able to take steps to
reduce the cost of living because it has managed the economy in a “responsible”
“We will continue to act responsibly as we give a genuine
response to the socioeconomic and security needs of the State of Israel in the
face of the global economic upheaval and the geopolitical upheaval in our
region,” he said.
Netanyahu said another side effect of the economic
upheavals was the “flooding of illegal infiltrators” into Eilat. The prime
minister, who visited Eilat last week and met with both local residents and
infiltrators, said that what he heard from the local residents was “despair
among mothers and fathers and business owners, who feel that they are losing
their city and the ability to have a normal life, and who are concerned about
going around the streets in the evening, and whose jobs are being taken
Netanyahu, who has made the construction of a fence along the
240-kilometer border with Egypt a high priority, said the flood of “illegal,
job-seeking infiltrators” was a threat to Israel’s “economy, society, security
and to the delicate demographic fabric upon which Israel is based.”
said that last week he had convened a meeting of the ministerial team charged
with dealing with the infiltration issue and, in addition to accelerating the
construction of the fence and having it completed by this time next year, he
issued directives to impose heavier fines on employers of illegal infiltrators.
He said deterring employers from hiring the infiltrators was as important as
constructing the fence because jobs are the magnet that attracts them to the
country in the first place.
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