Finance Committee meeting (illustrative)
Finance Committee meeting (illustrative) Hezki Baruch

The Knesset's Finance Committee met Monday to discuss the new tax on disposable plastic goods.

At the meeting, MK Yinon Azoulay (Shas) told the Tax Authority representative that the tax on plastic disposables has exceeded the guidelines, and in his opinion, they should not be taxed.

"By what criteria did you reach the decision that a product under two millimeters should be taxed?" he asked. "Because according to our investigation, there are items which are less than two centimeters [thick] which are considered to be multi-use items, and they are still taxed."

"You are killing businesses, taking from them money now, while in the meantime we have still not approved these guidelines. How will you return the money to them? This entire process is incorrect and wrong."

MK Yakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) told the Committee chairman, MK Alex Kushnir (Yisrael Beytenu), "You need to be independent and stop this unprofessional process, despite the fact that your [party] chairman happens to be Finance Minister."

Kushnir responded angrily, "Don't lecture me about independence. Get out!"

"It's hard for you to hear the truth," Asher shot back.

MK Moshe Gafni, who heads the United Torah Judaism party, said, "I was told in various conversations that the Finance Minister's intention was to harm the haredim and the poorer families."

"You promised that there would be a drop in the price of food," he continued. "Look what is happening before our very eyes: The reality contradicts all of the promises. You can't walk around with a sharp knife, bring down the guillotine, and take steps in the name of protecting the environment. You did not hold a discussion as you should have. We needed to have found a solution for families with many children. The day is not far off when we will bring everything back."

Kushnir admitted that "there are many questions regarding the proposed thickness of the plastic" when it comes to the cutoff for what needs to be taxed.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) said, "Israel is addicted to disposable plastic, especially to tableware, and it's time to wean off it. The benefit of disposable dishes is short-term."

"Disposable dishes naturally have a short lifespan, and they become environmental damage, causing pollution in the ocean and public areas, and causing very significant damage with their pollution." She added that "the European Union chose to completely ban many types of disposable plastic, and there's a good chance that the State of Israel will also reach that point. At this stage we did not choose to ban it."

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