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Year After Protests, Israel Sees Some Changes

It has been around a year since the protests against the cost of cottage cheese and housing transformed the Israeli consumer’s consciousness, lowered prices at supermarket chains and changed government policy.

In later months, the cost of living still appeared high, despite progress in the cellular telephone market and the promise of free education from age 3. A closer examination by TheMarker, however, reveals that progress has been made – precisely in the areas where consumers have made prices an issue.

The cost of dairy products, for example, is lower than in May 2011, and prices have declined over the past year in sectors including food, furniture, education and culture. Meanwhile, increases in gasoline and electricity prices have been curbed due to the government’s concern about a backlash.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the consumer price index rose 2% in February from a year before, while the average wage climbed 3.7% over the same period. This means the average Israeli’s purchasing power increased slightly over those 12 months. Unemployment, which stood at 6.9% in March, was down slightly from the first quarter last year, when it stood at 7% (as measured using current criteria, which have been revised since last year).

For more go to Haaretz.com

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