Cost of living in Israel is reaching a point of no return. Prices are rising across the board, including by about 4.5% for water bills, 6% for electricity, plus fuel, phone bills, food, and more. Even the Bank of Israel has increased their interest rate from 0.1% to 0.25%, the first rate increase since 2011 with another one expected in 2019.
With municipals taxes increasing for businesses, businesses are passing those increases on to the people. While the businesses might blame the government for raising taxes, the people realize that there are too many monopolies in power in the small country.
Hundreds of Israelis in yellow vests gathered in the center of Tel Aviv to hold a protest. Following suit from the French protests taking place, yet without violence, people joined together to persist for social justice. With high cost of living and no increasing salaries, a 2017 report shows about 21% of people live in poverty, with about of third of them being children.
Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Finance, made an announcement after discussions with big businesses like the Electric Authority, Osem and Strauss, that price hikes will be curbed in the coming weeks. The Electric Authority agreed to hold back the price increase after the Ministry agreed to pause a tax increase on fuel. Electricity prices were meant to rise 8% but will only increase by 6%.
An economic conundrum may ensue, with a question mark on who is responsible for ensuring the working-class citizens can survive, and perhaps even thrive, in Israel?