Finance Minister Yisrael Katz signed an order on Thursday authorizing the tax-free import of various vegetables into Israel until late July 2021.
“This decision will lead to an immediate drop in the prices of vegetables for the consumers,” Katz promised. “I will continue to work to lower the cost of living for citizens.”
The announcement was not greeted as warmly as might have been expected. Accordingly to The Jerusalem Post, such decisions have in the past been made weeks before Rosh Hashana to allow time for the measure to take effect in time for the pre-chagim shopping season. This year, in particular, with so many people out of work, a timely price adjustment was acutely needed.
Instead, the Israeli shopper has been confronted with soaring prices. A decision by Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster to allow imports from Jordan resulted in cucumber prices 60% above their cost a week ago, red peppers up 34% and the price of tomatoes grew by 26%. The Post did not explain Shuster’s reasoning.
Katz’s tax-free import measure will apply to those vegetables, as well as potatoes, according to a press release from the ministry. In all, some 45,000 tons of vegetables will be imported to the country tax-free.
The Finance Minister also promised to advance a proposal to lower the salaries of ministers and Knesset members. Presumably, including him.