Netanyahu cabinet meeting 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Anyone who says it is possible to lower taxes and increase services doesn’t know
what he is talking about, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday, just
hours after he lowered the tax on gasoline to keep prices down for
“I would like to make it clear – we do not control world
gasoline prices,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting. “The price of
gasoline is rising all over the world, in all countries. What we can do
is to try and ease the burden on citizens in a responsible and measured way, and
this is what we are doing.”
Netanyahu said his decision Saturday night to
reduce gas taxes and thereby lower by some 15 agorot the gas hikes that went
into effect Sunday morning marked the fourth time he has taken such a move in a
year. All told, he said, his interventions have trimmed some 80 agorot off the
gas price increases over the last 12 months. He noted that Israel’s taxes on
gasoline are lower than in many European countries.
Netanyahu said that
even though he reduced the taxes, Israel has maintained its budgetary framework
and that within a week he would submit a proposal drawn up by Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz to maintain the framework even as the revenue from gasoline tax
“Whoever says that it is possible to lower taxes and broaden
expenditures without making an account lacks economic knowledge and is
irresponsible,” he said.
Netanyahu said the tax revenue is needed to
purchase additional Iron Dome batteries
, complete work on the border fence going
up with Egypt, pay for free education for children and care for the elderly. He
added that in the past two years – “for the first time in many years” – the
country’s poverty index has started to decline.
“The number of poor
people in the State of Israel dropped for the first time in years because we
have invested in the elderly and have encouraged the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs to
join the work force,” he said. “For the first time, the clock is
His comments came during a meeting marking the completion of
his government’s first three years in office.
“This is the most stable
government in the last 20 years,” Netanyahu said.
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