State Comptroller urges MKs set to approve 2024 budget to better address rising cost of living

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, undated. (State Comptroller's Office)
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, undated. (State Comptroller's Office)

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman urges lawmakers to address the deficiencies in tackling the rising cost of living in Israel, as the cabinet is set to approve a 2024 wartime budget later this week.

In a report on the cost of living, Englman finds that high market concentration and lack of competition continue to fuel rising prices in the country, as the government has neglected the matter.

“The cost of living in Israel soared even before the outbreak of the war, and 2024 commenced with further increases,” says Englman. “The damage caused by the war on the various sectors, combined with a high interest rate environment, are taking a heavy toll on households in Israel, including households of reservists who risk their lives for the State of Israel and those of many evacuees from the south and the north.”

The State Comptroller’s review on the cost of living in Israel was conducted and prepared before the October 7 atrocities and the outbreak of the war. In light of the findings in the report that Israelis continue to grapple with rising living costs, Englman calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and government ministers to include the issue in their set of priorities along with dealing with the repercussions of the ongoing war against the Hamas terror group.

“With regard to the formulation of the 2024 budget – the government must also give its opinion of the war’s effect on the issue of the cost of living in Israel and correct the failures that emerged from the report,” Englman demands.

One of the findings in the report shows that food prices in Israel are about 51 percent higher compared to EU countries and 37% higher than among OECD countries. For example, whole wheat bread is 82% more expensive in Israel than in the US, England, New Zealand, and Spain, according to the report.

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