The levy on disposable tableware was only available for a short time
Photo: July Prokopiv / iStockphoto / Getty Images
Israeli environmentalists have criticized the government's decision to scrap an environmental tax on disposable tableware as "shameful."
"It puts us back years" as the world tries to reduce the use of such products, Mor Gilboa of the environmental organization Zalul told AFP.
According to a study from the autumn, the Israeli coast is polluted with more than two tons of microplastics.
In view of the results, contact with microplastics is practically unavoidable, said the specialist team.
This poses risks to the environment and human health.
(Read more about it here.)
Israel's previous government under Prime Minister Yair Lapid introduced a tax on disposable tableware due to the well-known garbage problem.
From the end of 2021, it provided for a levy of 11 shekels (about 2.94 euros) per kilo of plastic tableware and 3.3 shekels (about 87 cents) per kilo of disposable tableware made of paper with plastic content.
After more than a year, the ultra-right Israeli finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, announced on Sunday that the levy would be abolished.
Ultra-Orthodox welcome the move
Benjamin Netanyahu's new government has argued that the tax would fuel Israel's cost-of-living crisis and also specifically impact ultra-Orthodox communities.
"We promised - and we kept our word," said Treasury Secretary Smotrich.
»The fight against the cost of living is shared by all.«
Arje Deri of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party welcomed the decision.
He condemned the tax as "a symbol of intentional harm to the ultra-Orthodox population."
Many ultra-Orthodox families use disposable tableware at large family gatherings.
According to a study by the Knesset Science Service, before the tax was introduced, Israelis used an average of 7.5 kilos of disposable tableware per year – compared to just 1.5 kilos in the European Union.
Ultra-Orthodox families use disposable goods three times more often than the rest of the Israeli population.
Environment Minister Idit Silman said she voted against abolishing the tax.
After all, the tax reduced purchases of plastic tableware by almost 40 percent.