June saw a dramatic drop in the number of new cars imported into Israel. A total of 17,567 new vehicles entered the country in June 2017, 21.2 percent fewer than in June 2016, according to the Tax Authority. Imports of vehicles by private individuals have been down since the beginning of 2017; 98,555 new cars and other private vehicles entered the country during the first half of 2017, 36.2 percent fewer than for the same period in 2016.
With that, the Authority said that car imports were now stabilizing to what could be considered normal levels. There has been a gradual drop in the monthly numbers of car imports for each month over the past two years, compared to the numbers imported in 2014 and 2015.
While cars were less popular in June, major appliances were more popular. In June of 2017, there was a 50 percent jump in the number of refrigerators imported over the number in June 2016; washing machine imports grew as well, by 23 percent. Most popular were dryers, which saw an 80 percent increase in import numbers in June 2017 over the same month a year earlier.
One popular item that the government is no longer making money on – and thus no longer tracking – is the cell phone. Last month, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon canceled both import duties and purchase taxes on cell phones, with the only “extra” charge that Israelis are now required to pay being value-added sales tax (VAT).