Carrefour international supermarket chain in Israel
Carrefour international supermarket chain in IsraelKobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Nir Barkat on Monday evening visited a new branch of the Carrefour international supermarket chain in Jerusalem, one of 50 branches that the chain will open across Israel starting Tuesday.

Netanyahu said, "The entry of the first international retail chain to Israel is gigantic news for the citizens of Israel regarding competition and the lowering of prices. Together with Economy Minister Nir Barkat, we have approved the entry of the European standard."

“Citizens of Israel, what is good for Europe is also good for Israel. This means that prices will be dropping. They will drop by dozens of percent on hundreds of products, and on thousands in the future. This is news for the supermarket cart of every Israeli citizen who, once a week, spends thousands of shekels on a supermarket cart”.

“But now, think about the hundreds of shekels that will be saved every week, meaning that thousands of shekels will be saved yearly off the prices you pay in the supermarket. This is the start of a change, which began when we enacted free education from ages 0-3. Together we are fighting the cost-of-living and increasing competition for the benefit of the citizens of Israel," stated Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, the opposition and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett were quick to note that the arrival of Carrefour in Israel was made possible thanks to a series of reforms promoted by the previous government as part of the Arrangements Law, which accompanies the budget and incorporates government bills and legislative amendments that are needed in order for the government to fulfill its economic policy..

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said that "I have no doubt that Netanyahu simply forgot to thank the government of change and [former] Economy Minister [Orna] Barbivai for bringing the Carrefour chain to Israel while he was in the opposition. He forgot, it happens."

Bennett said that "the entry of the Carrefour chain into Israel was made possible thanks to two dramatic reforms that we passed in the government led by me: The adoption of European standards - in general, we decided that a product that passes all the European standards tests is also good for Israelis, and there is no need for more barriers and 'special' inspections for Israelis (which are actually intended to block imports and competition). So we just canceled them, and opened the import pipeline."

"The transition to an importer's declaration instead of individual inspections of items that are imported. As was the case above, we opened a kind of 'bottleneck' that blocked the free flow of imports. Without these courageous reforms, the Carrefour chain could not import into Israel about 2,500 different types of products under their private label, and it simply would not have come to Israel today. The costs of inspections and regulation would have made it not worthwhile."

Bennett continued, "This is a classic example of how the deregulation that we implemented brings results straight to the consumer's pocket. The fruits of these reforms will be reaped by every consumer in Israel. We passed both reforms within the framework of our very daring budget (arrangements) law. It is not clear why they waited so many years for this."

"Thank you to former Minister of Finance [Avigdor] Liberman, former Foreign Minister Lapid (who worked to invite the chain), the former Economy Minister Barbivai, former Deputy Minister Abir Kara and the Director General of the Prime Minister's Office during my time in officer, Yair Pines. This should continue," concluded Bennett.