Shas ministers are opposed to plans to make automaker Audi the official supplier of cars to the Israeli government, saying it was unacceptable that government ministers drive German-made vehicles.
An Israeli company that imports Audi and Skoda cars to Israel recently won a government tender to supply Audi A6 and Skoda Superb cars to government ministers. Israel has been relying on Volvo to supply its officials with cars since the state's establishment.
"I ordered Shas ministers to consider the possibility not to replace their cars. It is inconceivable that ministers of the Israeli government choose a car whose features are unnecessary luxuries in addition to being produced in Germany," Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said Sunday.
Yishai claims that the Audi 6 costs over NIS 100,000 ($24,000) more than the Skoda.
Minister-without-portfolio Yitzhak Cohen sent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a letter in which he wrote, "I was amazed to hear that one of the proposed cars is made in Germany. This is not a technical choice, but one that has a deep and fundamental symbolic aspect.
"People are entitled to drive any car they choose to, but we should be careful about the message we give to the public," he added.
It should be noted that although Skoda cars are manufactured in the Czech Republic, they are planned in Germany and many of their components come from there as well.