Smotrich Cancels Tax on Plasticware and Sweetened Beverages

MK Simcha Rotman, Head of the Constitution Committee and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich hold a joint press conference on the judicial overhaul at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem on March 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In his first act in office, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich signed orders to cancel the tax increases on single-use plasticware and sweetened beverages.

According to the Israel Tax Authority, the removal of the charges will cause an annual loss of NIS 1.2 billion ($340 million) in tax earnings for the treasury.

“There will be an open and deep dialogue between us, and professional decisions will be made to boost Israel’s economy for the benefit of all Israeli citizens,” Smotrich said.

UTJ MK Uri Maklev said that once the tax is canceled, “we will act in public campaigns and in education to protect the environment and consume healthy drinks.”

The Israel Union for Environmental Defense claimed that the move “harms public health, and even more so, decrees that the State of Israel will become one big landfill.”

Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, head of health policy at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, told the Kan public broadcaster: “This is not a Liberman tax and it is not anti-chareidi, this is pro- chareidi. It’s a shame that politicians are playing a cynical game with people’s lives.”

Smotrich pledged to largely continue the free-market policies undertaken by his predecessor, and to “increase competition as much as possible.”

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