Residents of the Israeli city of Eilat have come out against a plan to end the city’s tax-free status. Hundreds of taxi drivers in the southern resort plan to block the road on Wednesday, Sukkot eve, to prevent Israelis from reaching the border with Egypt for vacations in Sinai. Eilat, which has been hit hard by a drop in tourism over the past three years, still attracts Israelis because of its tax-free fuel and shopping. But the budget-tightening Finance Ministry plans to end the city’s special status, prompting locals to protest. Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevy said Tuesday that he wrote to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to apologize in advance for any revenues lost by Sinai resorts, which are usually frequented by thousands of Israelis during the High Holidays.
September 29, 2004