Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
MK Meir Porush, May 20, 2019.

United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush submitted a bill on Tuesday that will entitle any family with four or more children to a full dishwasher subsidy.

The bill comes as a response to the new tax on disposable products that went into effect on Monday, which was imposed at a rate of NIS 11 per kilogram on cups, plates, bowls, cutlery and straws.

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Another important point that is not well known is that the new tax also applies to personal imports: the current exemption from paying import (customs) taxes on personal imports of packages up to $75 does not apply to personal imports of disposable utensils. Thus, when personally importing disposable utensils, regardless of their value, one must now pay the full applicable tax.

Although the Environmental Protection Ministry contends the purpose of the new tax is to reduce the consumption of these products, Porush noted in the memo on the bill that “disposable dishes make up only six percent of plastic waste while 94 percent of plastic waste is not taxed,” the Hebrew-language Ma’ariv news outlet reported. Plastic packaging, bottles and other items are among those that remain tax-free.

The MK noted in the bill that the new tax may primarily hurt the vulnerable families with children who use disposable utensils.

A study conducted for the Environmental Protection Ministry found that imposing a tax in such a way that would double the price to the end consumer was expected to reduce consumption by some 40 percent, the ministry said.

The European Union has completely banned the use of a number of types of disposable utensils, the ministry noted, adding that in Israel it was decided to use an economic action to change consumer behavior, rather than a ban.

The MK pointed out, however, that the sector most likely to be hurt by the new tax is the observant Jews.

“Around the Shabbat table a family blessed with children, some of whom are married with children, can reach dozens of participants,” the text of the bill’s memo read.

“Purchasing a dishwasher will cost thousands of shekels for each family, an expense that will greatly burden the families who are in a difficult financial situation. It is therefore proposed to provide a dishwasher subsidy for those families who have at least four children.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.