|Cabinet Approves Higher Taxes for Israel’s Gas Tycoons|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
The Israeli cabinet has approved the Sheshinski Committee’s recommendations to raise the royalties on Israel’s gas fields from 33 to 55-65 percent. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that most of the extra billions of dollars collected by the government will be allocated to education.
NIF, SHATIL and Israel’s social change movement have campaigned hard for higher royalty rates and are in favor of the proposed increased expenditures on education. Several days before the crucial cabinet meeting, SHATIL published a survey it had commissioned, which found that 82.9 percent of the public supported the Sheshinski recommendations, or felt that the rates should be even higher than the committee proposed.
The Sheshinski Committee’s proposals will be presented to the Knesset in several weeks time so that the Oil and Gas Revenue Law can be amended. With both the government and opposition parties committed to supporting the recommendations, they are expected to pass.
However, SHATIL’s Programs Director Avi Dabush stressed that nothing can be taken for granted. “We will continuing lobbying hard to make sure that MKs do not waiver. In the long term, we will monitor government budgets to ensure that the extra billions of dollars that the government has pledged are indeed spent on education.”