Rami Levy, the controlling owner of his supermarket chain, told Maariv that he wasn't at meetings initiated by President Isaac Herzog because he wasn't invited or even told about it, and that's a good thing.
Levy isn't involved in politics, but in "helping 2.5 million customers fighting the soaring cost of living and paying wages to 10,000 workers that he employs." This, he says, is his demonstration.
Levy said that he won't go to protests, and he doesn't care if people protest, provided they don't harm the country or close roads.
"We have one country, and we need to protect it," he said. "Even if you think otherwise, you mustn't destroy the country. At the end, there's a ballot. We're a democratic country. In four years there will be elections, and if the reform isn't good then we'll talk at the ballot box."
Levy claims that "99% of the protesters support the reform provided that it's done through negotiations. If both parties are stubborn, let them get off the ladder and talk. You don't need preconditions like stopping the legislation."
According to Levy, the protests don't harm the supermarket chain. "We don't feel a negative effect on sales but on the contrary. People have less money because of the high-interest rate and their mortgages, so they come to Rami Levy to buy where items cost less," he claimed.
Levy blames the government for cost of living
Contrary to what Economy Minister Nir Barkat said, Levy blames the government for the cost of living. "I don't know if Nir Barkat is angry. If so, he should check how much the cost of living depends on the government," Levy said. "High taxation, regulation and bureaucracy; not up to us. We're listed companies, and you can read in the reports that I earn on wipes 2.5% of the cost. Even if I give up that profit, it won't solve the cost of living problem. If there's no change in government policy, prices in Israel will always be more expensive than abroad and the state is to blame."
Regarding the foreign chains entering Israel, he added, "We're not afraid of competition. Will they really be able to lower prices? It's nothing more than a headline, and they won't help at all."