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      Bennett Takes On Café Price-Fixing

      Minister of Economy reacts to report that Israeli coffee chains agreed not to lower prices in face of competition.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 10/10/2013, 4:09 PM

      Coffee shop (illustrative)
      Coffee shop (illustrative)
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Israel’s major coffee chains have been in contact regarding a new, cheap competitor, and have decided not to lower their prices, The Marker reports.

      Major chains reportedly decided that they will not change their approach despite the overwhelming popularity so far of the brand-new Coffix chain, which is offering coffee and similar drinks and baked goods at 5 shekels per product – around half the usual price.

      Minister of Economics Naftali Bennett quickly reacted to the report by determining to take on the cafes in question. Bennett contacted the head of the Antitrust Authority, Professor David Gilo, and asked him to look into the possibility that the coffee chains had acted illegally.

      “I was surprised to read in the media that sources in the café chains had exchanged messages, apparently in order to coordinate their responses and keep prices high as they are today, this in light of the arrival of a new competitor offering attractive prices,” Bennett told Gilo.

      “The things described above, if they are true, undermine the government’s stated police of lowering the cost of living, and could even be a violation of the law,” he continued.

      Bennett asked Gilo to look into the matter “as the one with the authority to prevent cartels and to promote competition.”

      In an interview with IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal), Gilo said he would look into the matter.