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September 21, 1984 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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12 Friday, September 21, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Sunday to cut $1 billion from
its budget for the current fiscal
year and appointed a commit-
tee of four top Cabinet minis-
ters to make the cuts. The four
are Peres, Deputy Premier
Yitzhak Shamir, Modai of
Likud and Economic and
Planning Minister Gad
Yaacobi of Labor.
Acting Cabinet Secretary
Michael Nir made it clear to
reporters that the four were
empowered to decide on the
budget slashes, and there is no
appeal frOm the decision back
to the full Cabinet.
The four, however, will not
act indiscriminately: this
week the full Cabinet met in a
day-long seminar session on
the economy. Peres, Modai,
Yaacobi and Deputy Premier
and Housing Minister David
Levy conferred with a top-
level Histadrut team led by
Secretary General Yisrael
Kessar regarding plans for a
package deal on wages and
price freezes to help put a lid
on soaring inflation.
Cabinet sources said most of
Sunday's meeting was devoted
to the economic crisis. Modai
himself; in public remarks
over the weekend, did not con-
ceal his intention to impose
tough measures, though he
stressed repeatedly that all
sectors of the economy will be
required to "share the burden
equitably." But he has re-
peatedly denied that dollar-
linked deposits and savings
schemes will be affected ad-
versely.
In the government's first
economic action, the shekel
was devalued by nine percent
Sunday night in an effort to
stem the panic buying of dol-
lars by the public. Modai
called it a moderate devalua-
tion. He said bringing the
shekel down to an official rate
of about 400 to $1 would not be
followed by any more "big" de-
valuations and should calm
public fears.
Yaacobi reported Monday
that the government's coffers
were emptied of more than $60
million last Friday alone as
the public rushed to buy dol-
lars in anticipation of a
further devaluation of the
shekel. The lower the shekel
the more expensive the dollar
on both the official and the
black markets.
Bank of Israel sources who
had been opposed to a new de-
valuation said that they could
live with the nine percent re-
duction if it is followed quickly
by a broad economic austerity
program. The government is
in fact preparing sweeping
economic measures. The nine

percent devaluation and a
corresponding nine percent
increase in fuel prices an-
nounced Sunday night were
preliminary moves.
Half of the $1 billion cut is
expected to come from reduced
operating costs and half by
sharp reductions in govern-
ment subsidies for basic com-
modities. An even steeper rise
in fuel prices is expected in the
next few weeks and the prices
of other basics will go up by
two dozen or more percentage
points.
Press reports predicted
slashes in health, education
and welfare expenditures in
the amount of about $250 mil-
lion. That would mean major
reductions in government aid
programs for all citizens.
Modai reportedly will raise
the value-added tax (VAT),
the sales tax and property tax.

Israeli cities are
cutting services as
they run out of funds.

-

Israel's cost of living index
rose by 16.5 percent during
August; the highest figure
ever for that month and more
than twice the increase of the
previous August record two
years ago.
Inflation is presently run-
ning at over 400 percent, with
the past 12 months registering
a 394 percent rise.
Salaried workers will re-
ceive partial compensation for
the August increase in the
form of a 13.2 increase with
their September pay packets
due on Oct. 1.
A growing number of
municipalities in Israel,
claiming they are out of
money, are shutting down
public services until the Fi-
nance Ministry comes up with
the funds the mayors say are
owed them under the Interior
Ministry budgets.
Petach Tikva was blacked
out last week because the
township could not pay its
electric bill. Monday night,
street lights were switched off
in Beersheva for the same rea-
son and traffic lights were not
turned on Tuesday morning.
The municipality has cut off
water to public buildings,
though private residences con-
tinue to be supplied.
Town councils in Galilee are
also cutting back on services
and the big cities of Tel Aviv
and Haifa warn they may have
to do the same. Municipal em-
ployees in many localities are
on strike because of non-
payment of their August
salaries.

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