The Economy Ministry is taking action against business owners who have taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to raise the cost of foods despite government fixed prices.
"Raising the prices directly effects citizens, and it is inconceivable that it is happening, especially during times like these," said Nava Zaken, head of the Economy Ministry's enforcement administration. "Right now the enforcement administration will make special efforts to battle and end this phenomenon."
Following the complaint of citizens that prices have risen a considerable amount on basic foods with fixed prices, the Economy Ministry has begun intensively enforcing regulations in food stores across the country.
Complaints have been made on the rising cost of eggs, which have a fixed price, as the country has seen a mass shortage attributed to the timing of the coronavirus paired with high demand leading up Passover. "To exploitation of the health crisis by food chains is an ugly phenomenon," said Economy Minister Eli Cohen. "Therefore I have instructed the relevant officials in my office to take action, with the goal of preventing this happening by close monitoring, so as to maintain a fair price level."
Criminal fines of up to tens of thousands of shekels will be given to business owners found to have broken the law by raising the cost of these specific foods. Within the last two weeks alone dozens of businesses have already been found to have raised prices of foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, and challah.
In one store that was reviewed in Rishon Letzion, it was found that the the store owner raised the price of eggs by 90%, while making the decision to sell eggs individually, rather than in packages.
The heightened action taken by the Economy Ministry will both continue throughout Passover, and the time period in which Israel's citizens must deal with government restrictions put in place during the coronavirus outbreak. In order to help the Economy Ministry to maintain the prices of food during this time, complaints can be submitted here