MK Meir Sheetrit 311 Ariel.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Less than a week before the Knesset officially begins its Summer Session, Kadima
fired what sounded like the session’s opening shots Wednesday, attacking the
government’s financial policy during a special plenum session.
years, from 1996 until 2009, no government raised gas prices. No government saw
fuel as a way to raise capital at the public’s expense – a tool that can be
played with – because they knew that the moment you raise fuel prices, there is
a rise in prices across the economy,” complained Yoel Hasson (Kadima) during the
“This is not a matter of coalition and opposition, this
is something that the Knesset as a whole should tell the prime minister – that
his policy on gas taxes is unacceptable, is too Draconian, is a sentence that
the public cannot bear,” he continued, reminding his fellow MKs that Israel
started the year with tax surpluses.
He also emphasized that despite the
fact that average gas prices per barrel had dropped from $147 in 2008 to $105
today, gas was 20 percent cheaper for Israelis in 2008. “The simple reason is
that taxes on fuel now constitute almost 60% of the total cost of gas at the
pump,” Hasson said.
MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) announced Wednesday that in
the coming days, he intended to submit legislation that would cancel the
value-added tax that is applied to the fuel taxes.
that the rising fuel costs mostly harmed the middle and lower classes.
Value-added tax, Sheetrit said, is charged twice in calculating gas fees: once
on the price of the fuel itself, and once on the fuel tax.
illogical that Israelis who already pay a very high price on fuel are charged a
tax on the tax itself,” he explained.
Hasson has also submitted a bill to
combat fuel costs, proposing that the maximum tax that the Treasury can place on
gas cannot exceed 30% of the total price at the pump. Any additional increase in
taxes beyond the 30% level would require special permission from the Finance
Israel currently ranks 12th in the world in fuel prices,
trailing behind western European nations, with costs per-liter coming in at
twice the average gas price in the US.