With nine of Israel's ten largest producers and distributors of food and household items hiking their prices in 2018, Israel's social protesters are donning yellow vests and taking to the streets of Tel Aviv. In addition, electricity prices are expected to rise between 6% and 8% on January 1st and water prices will rise by 4.5%. Municipal taxes will rise by 2% in 2019 and mobile phone companies have announced price hikes in their monthly plans.
Consequently, over the past 24 hours, Israel's social media, WhatsApp groups and social forums have been flooded with calls to get out and protest Paris style, wearing yellow vests. The protestors have arranged to meet up on Friday outside the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv at midday.
Osem-Nestle's announcement earlier this week that they were raising the prices of their products leaves Strauss as the only top-ten food and household goods producers and distributors not to have hiked prices in 2018. Tnuva, the Central Bottling Co. (Coca-Cola and Tara dairy), Unilever, Neto, Diplomat, Sano, Kimberly-Clarke and Tempo have all already raised prices this year. According to Storenext, these 10 companies represent 56% of Israel's retail food and household goods market. In addition, dozens of smaller producers and distributors have already or are considering raising their prices.
The retail chains, which are passing the price rises onto the consumer, are enjoying higher profitability, while the government rakes in more money from the 17% VAT sales tax.
The organizers of Friday's protest say, "Prices are going up everywhere and we are fed up. We say that's it. We've seen in the past few weeks how in France and other places in the world citizens have taken to the streets, put on yellow vests, and made such a noise that the government has listened to them. It's time for us to make this happen in Israel."
The organizers added, "In the past few days a price hike in water, electricity and food products has been announced. Where is the government that promised to take care of the cost of living? Why are prices continuing to rise and our salaries are frozen and nobody in Jerusalem cares?"
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 13, 2018
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