Gas price hike fuels political assault on Netanyahu

Yacimovich says record gas prices result of "unjust taxes"; Plesner: PM using money from serving public to fund haredim, settlers.

Person filling car gas tank 370  (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Person filling car gas tank 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Opposition politicians accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Saturday of hiding the truth from the public about the weekend’s hike in gas prices.
“Netanyahu and Steinitz’s statement that they are not involved in the rising price of gas is a lie,” Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich said. “They are involved, and one-third of the increase is a direct result of unjust taxes on the public.”
Yacimovich pointed to value-added tax and excise tax as “unjust concepts” and “unequal taxes, because rich and poor people pay the same.”
“The rise in VAT and gas prices are not surprising. All basic products have become luxuries under Netanyahu’s government – food, a home, education and gas,” the Labor leader added.
The maximum price of self-service 95-octane gasoline rose 55 agorot to a record-high NIS 8.25 per liter for September. This included a o n e - p e r c e n t a g e - p o i n t increase in VAT at midnight on Friday, from 16 percent to 17%.
Yacimovich also accused Netanyahu of harming the middle class because the Finance Ministry plans to increase taxes on the use of leased cars.
“This will hit hundreds of thousands of people where it hurts, because their leased car is a poor alternative to real, secure employment,” she said.
MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) said Netanyahu is putting his hands in the public’s pockets in order to fund his “twisted priorities.”
“The Netanyahu government pays for housing for settlers in Migron [a West Bank outpost whose residents are to be evacuated] that is worth NIS 660,000 per family, and invests hundreds of thousands of shekels in each family in the city of Harish [a community in Wadi Ara that is expand], and presents the check to the public that serves [in the army] and works, and that starting tonight will have to absorb another blow,” Plesner said.
Last week, Kadima Party chairman Shaul Mofaz called the price hike the prime minister’s Rosh Hashana gift to Israeli citizens, and predicted it would lead to a wave of inflation and cause thousands to lose their jobs.
A 14% rise in the cost of oil and the continued depreciation of the shekel against the dollar both contributed to the price increase. The previous record price motorists paid for a liter of self-service gasoline was NIS 7.79 – or NIS 8 with full-service fee – in April.
The price of gasoline is set by the Energy and Water Ministry each month according to the following components: the cost of oil (NIS 3.42 per liter in September), excise tax (NIS 2.99), marketing margins (NIS 0.64), as well as 17% VAT on the three aforementioned components.
In addition, there is a full-service fee of NIS 0.17, which brings the total price per liter to NIS 8.42.

Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.