NetanyahuYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing a plan which would freeze price hikes on a number of utilities and on property taxes, according to a report by Israel Hayom Wednesday morning.

Following high global levels of post-COVID restriction inflation which saw prices on many consumer goods rise significantly, prices for energy, utilities, and property taxes in Israel are also slated to rise significantly.

Standard 95-octane gas rose on January first to 6.94 shekels per liter, with a 3.5% hike slated for the price of water, and an 8.2% increase in the price of electricity.

Property taxes are also set to rise by 1.37%, with some localities pushing to hike taxes as much as 5% for businesses.

According to Wednesday’s report, Netanyahu is poised to announce freezes to at least some of the price increases, with a plan to push off the hikes to property taxes, electricity, and water rates.

The measures are intended to provide an immediate response to the wave of price hikes, even before the submission of the budget to the government in about a month and a half.

The goal is to create an immediate "cooling effect" for the public, which is already collapsing under the burden of rising prices, with the understanding that the budget approval will take time. According to the estimate of the manufacturers' association, the cost of the "freeze" will amount to approximately NIS 3 billion.

The plan reportedly under consideration by Netanyahu includes some of the measures Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has drawn up, according to a report by Channel 12.

In addition to freeze price hikes for utilities, Smotrich is reportedly considering offering food stamps for low income families, a negative income tax, and tax credits.

As part of the plan, working families will receive either half a credit point or a salary credit point. Today, a credit point is an addition of NIS 220 to the family's net salary. The emerging plan is based on the coalition agreements and will come into effect already in the next budget, which is expected to be passed in the next month and a half. The approval of the budget is also expected to result in the salaries of IDF soldiers being increased by 20%.

Another source of relief for families that is being considered is within the framework of payment for educational institutions for toddlers. After Finance Minister Smotrich realized that he would not be able to apply the free education law to those aged 0-3, as he promised in the election campaign, he began considering subsidizing the after-school programs or finding another solution that will bring down the prices of pre-schools.

On Tuesday, Smotrich confirmed that a plan to blunt the rising cost of living is being drafted.

"Since I took office last Sunday, I have been holding a series of in-depth discussions with the professionals in the Ministry and with senior officials in the economy to formulate solutions that will make things easier for the public and bring about, with God's help, lower prices."

"Nevertheless, it is important, and I will insist on it, that the steps that will be carried out will be correct and responsible, after careful analytical work and from an overall view of the needs of the economy and the budget. Some of the steps will be carried out with God's help in the coming period and some will be brought as a package to fight the cost of living within the framework of the state budget. When the plan is formulated we will present it to the public ".