In a one-on-one interview with Yehuda Sharoni of Maariv at the Maariv Annual Business Summit, Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce, said that the Israeli government bears the primary responsibility for the increase in the cost of living.
“I am very angry at the hypocrisy of the Israeli government, which wants to decrease the cost of living, but has created new taxes, raised municipal taxes, does not control the low level of services of seaports and turns all the arrows at the business sector,” said Lynn.
He also attributed blame to the Economic Competition Authority, which he said through the years has done nothing to address the dysfunction of the operations of Israel’s seaports, adding that the refusal of the ports to hire temporary workers has caused a severe slowdown in the unloading of goods which were shipped to Israel – significantly raising port expenses and the cost of living.
In response to a query from Sharoni about rising prices in the marketplace, Lynn said that in the past five years in the business sectors, prices have gone down between 20% and 28% in many product categories. “When there is competition, the prices go down,” he said.
Lynn also criticized Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Israeli government for not removing the 17% VAT exemption on the importation of goods via personal import from outside Israel. He stated that government ministers discriminate against Israeli businesses and are afraid to stop this harsh discrimination because a portion of the media has fallen in love with this exemption.
Written in cooperation with the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce.