Jul.13, 2012 | 4:53 AM–A year later, only around a quarter of Israeli Jews believe that the cost-of-living protests have improved their position as consumers, a survey by the Smith Institute shows.
Around 26% of respondents said their position had significantly improved. Another 50% said their position had improved only slightly, while 24% said they weren’t any better off.
Meanwhile, 32% of young people said they were no better off. Young people were defined as up to age 29. The survey was conducted among 509 Israeli Jews.
Last year’s social protests broke out over the high price of cottage cheese and escalated to include issues including child care, housing and bank fees.
“After a year of consumer awakening, we’d expect to see real changes in the cost of living, in the people’s ability to live in dignity or dream of owning an apartment one day,” said Prof. Sinai Deutch, an expert in consumer protection and dean of Netanya Academic College’s law school.
“Unfortunately, the situation is still bleak, and the survey shows that people still feel this,” said Deutch, who initiated the poll. The most disturbing statistic is the figure on younger citizens, “the backbone of the protest, who are feeling even less change,” he said.
While many factors divide Israelis, one thing unites most of them: the understanding that fees on every last transaction have made the banking sector direly in need of reform. Some 92% of Israelis believe that this sector needs reform similar to the one in the cell phone industry, the survey found.
As for Knesset members who want to improve citizens’ quality of life, the survey reveals plenty of potential for action.
“If we were to ask whether reforms were needed in multichannel TV, pensions and other highly concentrated industries, similar to the reforms in the cell phone sector, the answers would be similar,” said Deutch. The economy needs to be less concentrated to reduce the cost of living and increase consumers’ power,” said Deutch…Read More>>