TEL AVIV (Jul. 26)
A tax on most types of fuel oil that went into effect at midnight last night sent prices soaring from ten to 140 percent on gasoline, diesel oil, kerosine, and domestic cooking gas. But Government officials insisted it was not a tax. They said the price hike was merely intended to bring prices in Israel into line with world market prices that have risen in the past year. It was disclosed however that the price rise on fuel, decided by the Cabinet’s economic committee and approved by the Knesset finance committee, was withheld from the public until the Finance Minister determined that the time was ripe to announce it.
Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir said last night that the Government did not contemplate further taxes this year and denied that this implied that new taxes were under consideration for next year. Moshe Neudorfer, director of internal revenue, told reporters the same thing. “We have no plans to raise any taxes before the end of the current fiscal year, contrary to all the rumors and stories in the newspapers,” he said. The new fuel “tax” has already sparked demands for higher fares in taxis and other forms of transportation. Gasoline prices have soared by ten percent and the price of kerosine nearly tripled today. The public is waiting to see if the Israel Electric Corp., the largest single consumer of fuel, would raise its rates, a development that could send prices up on almost every manufactured article.