Israel is Getting Pricier and Tweeps Blame Government for Sitting Idle

© Flickr / Sue SchoenfeldA shop in Jerusalem, Israel
A shop in Jerusalem, Israel - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2022
Recent months have seen a spike in the price of basic food products, electricity bills and fuel in Israel. Although the country has put forward a plan that aimed to tackle those issues, critics have already called it useless and argued it didn't solve the core of the problem, namely the country's monopolies.
Israelis have gotten used to the high cost of living. The price of basic food items has always exceeded comparable prices registered in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The real estate market has become one of the most expensive in the world.
However, now these prices are expected to grow even more. The cost of fuel -- that already stands at slightly more than $2 per litre -- is set to rise again. So will bills for electricity, car insurance and food.
Israeli politicians have been trying to manage the damage, citing the findings published by the country's Central Bureau of Statistics.
According to their numbers, in 2021, Israel's GDP rose by 8.1 percent, exceeding that of the US as well as some European and Asian countries.

Government's Fault?

However, ordinary Israelis were not impressed and many have taken to social media platforms to vent their anger at the government and its decisions.
"16 percent growth ... this is a joke .. are you really buying the story?? What exactly has grown ... the country has become poor. The cost of living is rampant and the Moldovan [Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman - ed.] comes to simply destroy the country..." wrote one tweep.
Others chimed in: "Since this crazy government took over, there has been a stark rise in prices in all walks of life, in addition to cruel tax impositions. The question is where is the left wing that had been complaining about the high price of cottage cheese during the era of Netanyahu and now they are keeping silent?"
"The cruelty of high costs of living have exploded just like this volcano. This left wing government is a champion in ruining...".

Not Just All Talk

The vibrant discussions on social media networks are not just all talk. In the past weeks, thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the government’s policies. Many have also established groups on Facebook discussing the measures that could be taken against the monopolies that control the country.
Israel's government understands the repercussions of such an outcry. In 2011, economic protests over the high cost of living shook the country and threatened its stability. Politicians fear history might repeat itself.
The current coalition doesn't need this headache, especially as most of the public seems to be dissatisfied with its actions.
When it came to power last June it vowed to improve the lives of ordinary Israelis, tackle unemployment, the high food prices and the bloated costs of the real estate. Eight months down the line not much has been actually done.
It is not that they were not trying. Three weeks ago, Bennett announced his economic plan to cope with the crisis. According to that initiative, working parents would see a reduction of taxes. Quotas on basic products, vehicle spare parts and construction material would be reduced. And families in towns of low socio-economic level have received substantial subsidies for day care.
Journalists, economists and conservative politicians in Israel have already slammed that plan. They called it a disgrace and argued it didn't tackle the core problems that contributed to the high costs of living. Monopolies, they said, have remained untouched, average salaries have not been elevated. Territories in the periphery were not unfrozen for residential construction.
Ordinary Israelis have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the plan, stirring discussions on social media platforms. And as long as that disapproval lingers, chances are that the issue will continue to present a major headache for the government.
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