During a special plenum debate held on Tuesday to mark Eilat Day, Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said the city`s residents ”live in a location with special characteristics and needs, and therefore are entitled to tax benefits. This is also why Eilat is considered a no-VAT free trade zone. All of these are incentives for both the business owners and for those who chose to live in Eilat, with its unique geographical, yet far-off, location. Let us not forget that in recent years, Eilat is, from time to time, under threat of various terrorist attacks, specifically from Sinai.”

”That is why, in light of its strategic importance, it was wise for the government and its authorities to give special consideration to the city, led by the Prime Minister. This dedication also appears in the area of infrastructure development – for example, the important project of expanding Highway 90, which hopefully will be completed,” he added.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) said ”every now and then, it is suggested to cancel the VAT exemption for Eilat. I`m glad the current budget has no such intentions.”

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Silvan Shalom, spoke on behalf of the government: ”We allow hotels in Eilat to receive the proper manpower, instead of the illegal immigrants who came to Eilat in overwhelming numbers. Some of the infiltrators received a grant to leave Israel and they just came right back. This city has grown a lot since the days of the `Ink Flag` and the days it consisted of only military, port workers, and a small group of people who were sent there as punishment, instead of incarceration. I hope that we will go on and further develop this city in every area in which we can contribute to the residents of Eilat and to all of the Israeli citizens.”