NEW YORK (Aug. 4)
Finance Minister Yoram Aridor of Israel has reached an agreement with Histadrut and the employers’ organization in Israel to absorb one billion dollars in 1982 to help finance the “Peace for Galilee” operation, it was reported by Uri Oren, spokesman for the Israel Economic Mission in New York. The main points in the agreement call for imposing a progressive obligatory loan on all employees and self-employed in Israel, and for cutting down government expenses, he said.
These steps will come in addition to the economic measures taken by the government of Israel in June, the most important of which was to raise the value added tax (VAT) from 12 percent to 15 percent. Altogether, the government plans on absorbing from the public about $1.65 billion to finance war expenses, a sum which equals about seven percent of the GNP, Oren said.
He explained that Aridor deliberately avoided exercizing his authority unilaterally when deciding upon these steps. Oren said the Finance Minister asked for the cooperation of the unions and the employers organization in order to arrive at national unity on this subject as well.
$700 MILLION TO BE COLLECTED AS A LOAN
The agreement will be valid until April 30, 1983. During this period, about $700 million will be collected from the public as an obligatory loan, Oren said. The loan will be returned during a four-year period, from 1993 through 1996. The government will also cut its spending by about $200 million. This includes a cut in subsidies for basic consumer items.
Oren noted that the agreement adds that the government, the unions and the employers will cooperate in encouraging, economic growth, increasing production for exports, and maintaining a full level of employment in order to facilitate the absorption of released soldiers into the economy when the war in Lebanon ends.