Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Iyar 5766 - May 10, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Public Furor Over Rise in Bread Prices

By G. Kleiman

The public, social organizations and the Gil Pensioners Party are up in arms after PM Ehud Olmert unexpectedly signed a 7.11 percent increase in the price of bread.

"Either we would have raised the price of bread or the bakeries would not have baked the bread," said Olmert, telling government ministers that he had rejected the decision to increase bread prices over an extended period of time. The price increase is being attributed to a rise in input costs, namely wheat and fuel.

Sources close to Olmert said he agreed to take responsibility for the decision rather than letting it fall on his replacement, MK Eli Yishai (Shas). "The purchase of Yiscar was a present to me for the day I entered the ministry, along with the rise in bread prices," said Yishai, the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade.

MK Yishai held a meeting with representatives of the bakeries on Monday, saying he believed solutions could be found to compensate weaker segments of the population without harming the bakeries.

Atty. Yaron Levinson, director of the Consumers Federation, sent a letter to the Minister asking him to alter the composition of the Price Committee, whose responsibilities include determining the price of bread. According to the Inspection Law on the Prices of Consumer Goods and Services the committee is supposed to consist of two representatives from the Finance Ministry and two representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Levinson has asked the Minister to act to bring consumer representatives into the committee. "Bread is a staple that affects each and every consumer. How can the price be determined without consumer representatives? [They] can contribute toward greater transparency and balance in decision-making. At the moment we have no real information how the decisions on the increase are reached," said Levinson.

MK Moshe Sharoni (Pensioners Party) said needy retirees should be compensated for the price increase. If a decision to this effect is not reached in the Knesset Finance Committee he said the issue would again be raised for discussion within the party.

Dozens of activists from the Lechem Party and Likud Youths demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Sunday to protest the price increase. "The grace period we wanted to give the government to handle social affairs have passed," party head Yisrael Tavito said in a speech he gave. "There is no Welfare Minister in the State of Israel, and therefore we realize we have been deceived." The position may be held open to give to UTJ if they join the coalition, though there has been no public corroboration of this.


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