Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented on Thursday the government's strategy to reduce the rising prices of commodities during a special press conference. The outline include reducing the costs of public transport by 10%; lowering the soaring cost of water; raising the monthly minimum wage by $122.00, and canceling a recently imposed tax on gasoline, which had brought the price at the gas pump to $ 8.50 a gallon.
The PM said that following two financial crises that have plagued Israel over the past decade, it appears that 2011 might bring yet another fiscal meltdown.
"We are witnessing the characteristics of a third crisis which ties into the previous one, The recovering economies, the giant economies, demand a lot of energy. They drink a lot of oil, and when they do, the prices of oil rise."
"The question has come up as to what we are doing about the distress that has arisen in light of the increase in commodity prices. The first thing that we will do is recognize that we have no control over the price of raw materials in the world. There is genuine distress and we want to deal with it responsibly. The steps that we have formulated are designed to help those who do not have and not those who have. This is a fair and responsible package of steps that provides socio-economic solutions in a considered manner without breaking the budgetary framework."
"Since we cannot control them, it is possible that these prices, including those of oil, will continue to climb up,This is why our first step is to encourage the use of public transportation. This is the right thing."
The prime minister said that the State has taken various measures to deal with past financial crises, including the creation of 100,000 jobs over the past year, increasing subsidies for kids and working mothers and supplementing the education budget.
He said that the government will therefore reduce the prices of bus and train rides by 10%.
As for minimum wages, which will be raised by NIS 450, Netanyahu said that it will meet the immediate needs of families that struggle the most with the prices of basic products.
"We want to set a simple concept: To help those who don't have... We want to give the benefits to those who really make minimal wages,"I hope and call on (Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman) Ofer Eini to talk and agree with us as soon as possible. We are ready to go immediately."
"We must preserve the budget frame…To protect our economy and protect our security, We have found out that from Morocco to Pakistan Israel might be the most stable state. We must preserve the stability, help the citizens. We will do it, above all, responsibly."