Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid embrace in the Knesset..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Likud MKs on Monday to begin the process of passing legislation on Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s plan for zero-percent value-added taxes on some apartments for young couples who have served in the IDF.
Zero percent VAT is Lapid’s signature plan for solving the crisis of expensive housing for the middle class. Netanyahu has said in interviews that he opposes the plan and does not believe it will work, but that he will advance it to keep his coalition partner Yesh Atid chairman Lapid satisfied.
Netanyahu angered Lapid last month when he froze the legislation in order to pass it later along with other bills related to the 2015 state budget. Lapid said at the time that he would not give into political pressure.
But the prime minister told coalition chairman Yariv Levin and MK Gila Gamliel, who heads the coalition’s efforts in the Knesset Finance Committee, to advance Lapid’s plan when the Knesset returns next week from its extended summer vacation.
“In the Knesset’s winter session, we will pass the zero-percent VAT plan for the young couples who have not been able to purchase an apartment due to the intolerably high prices,” a Lapid spokeswoman said on Monday. “The plan is part of a wider effort to lower the cost of housing and living in the country.”
Also on Monday, former social services and welfare minister Moshe Kahlon reiterated at an event organized by Lahav – The Umbrella Organization for Independent Businesspeople that he will form a political framework whose goal will be to lower the cost of living.