Finance Minister Yair Lapid called a press conference to announce great news for consumers – soft white cheese and whipped cream now will be under price control.
Lapid’s move is a belated populist reply to the :”cottage cheese” protests of three summers ago, but Monday’s publicity stunt did not make an immediate positive impression on Israelis.
The Israeli consumer has woken up the past several years and no longer is so dumb.
Placing cottage cheese under price control is like “giving aspirin to a cancer patient,” said Itzik Alrov, who founded the Israeli Consumers Organization.
He said it makes more sense to break up the monopolies that control the food market, For example, Tnuva, Strauss and Tara hold 90 percent of the white cheese market.
Lapid said that an accountant hired by the government examined the market and discovered what Israelis have known for years – that Tnuva’s profits on soft white cheese and whipped cream is “exceptional and unreasonable.”
Lapid’s price controls will reduce the price on “5 percent” soft white cheese by approximately 38 percent from the current price of 6.54 shekels to approximately 5.23 shekels.
During the “cottage cheese protests,” a public boycott forced the price down to 5 shekels.
“The markets in Israel are run like a Soviet system,” said Alvor.
Lapid can count on his Yesh Atid party’s gaining zero seats in the next Knesset in the next poll, and his insult to the intelligence of consumers might even cost him a couple of seats.