Electricity price set to rise as much as 8 pct by Jan 1
"The price of electricity is significantly lower than in Europe and I tell you that it will not rise 8 per cent," Netanyahu told the Globes business conference on Wednesday.
"I do not know how much it will rise but a few per cent in the worst case."
The price of electricity was set to rise as much as 8 per cent on Jan. 1, while a host of other prices -- from food to water to municipal taxes -- are also supposed to go up in 2019.
A new wave of protests has begun in a similar fashion to those in France, where protesters are wearing yellow vests.
Netanyahu said electricity costs have dropped 15 per cent since 2013 after the Tamar natural gas field opened off Israel's Mediterranean coast. He said the larger Leviathan gas field, slated to start production in a year, would lower electricity rates further.
Ram Shefa, one of the organizers of recent protests against rising living costs, said the plan to raise electricity rates meant Israel's gas production was only benefiting the owners of the gas fields, Noble Energy and Delek Group.
"Even after the rise, the price of electricity in the last five years has fallen 10 per cent," Eilat said.
The high cost of living sparked mass protests in 2011 and significantly impacted the 2012 general election, with candidates promising to lower the cost of basic items.
Osem, Israel's third-largest food maker which is owned by Nestle, had planned a 4.5 per cent price hike but on Wednesday postponed the increase following public pressure and a request by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
Osem said in a statement Kahlon is examining the cancellation of tariffs on a series of raw materials used by the company for its production in Israel.
"It's only the start," Shefa said, adding there would be protests targeting other food makers and there were plans for a large demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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