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Israeli farmers’ protest heads towards cabinet meeting in Jerusalem

CM 31/07/2021

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The farmers and agriculture workers protest will reach the doorsteps of the cabinet meeting set to take place in Jerusalem on Sunday, Maariv reported on Saturday.

Farmers and agriculture workers blocked eight major junctions on Thursday, scattering agricultural produce and eggs on the roads in protest of the reforms proposed by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Agriculture Minister Oded Forer, which they claim will threaten their livelihoods.
The new laws aim to recognize European standards on fruits and vegetables and will aim to create more competition in the industries, which is supposed to lower prices. This will be done gradually by lowering tariffs on fruit and vegetables.
Alongside adopting European standards on fruits and vegetables, regulations on European fruits will be loosened, meaning there will be a bigger range of fruits available all year round.
Thousands will enter Jerusalem on Sunday on tractors and other agricultural vehicles to protest the reforms they call “destructive,” as the Israeli government’s cabinet meeting takes place.

The protest organizers, Shay Hagag, head of the Israeli Farmers Union Avshalom (Avi) Vilan, Israeli Regional Council Center CEO Dubi Amitai, Moshavim Movement Secretary-General Amit Ifrach and Israel Farmer’s Federation CEO Nir Meir were locked in negotiations with the Agriculture Ministry and the Finance Ministry to no avail, as of Saturday.
“We are in favor of competition and not afraid of it,” said the heads of the agricultural reforms protest in a joint statement.
“We demand a fair agreement rather than a disclaimer in the Arrangements Law. We have a crisis of values on our hands, when the government wakes up it will be too late,” they added.
“The agriculture reform is one of the most important in the Arrangements Law and comes to strengthen the Israeli farmer while treating the cost of living and benefit with consumers,” Liberman said when announcing the reforms last week. 
He also said that the program will save Israelis some NIS 2.7 billion a year, or NIS 840 per household.
“We will not allow for Israeli families to be denied fruits and vegetables because of their high prices in the market,” said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Oded Forer.
“The change is closer than ever. Soon, we will be able to buy and eat fruits and vegetables for a cheaper price,” added Forer.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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