By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — June 29, 2020 … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, today decided on a new approximately NIS 2 billion plan to assist the self-employed and the business sector, which will be put into effect in the coming days.
The plan includes special grants of up to NIS 400,000 for Israeli businesses that were affected by Coronavirus up to at least 60 percent in May-June, for up to 10-15 percent of turnover, with turnover of up to NIS 20 million. It was also decided to expand the circle of businesses that will receive the assistance, to businesses the turnover of which is up to NIS 100 million and which were hurt by up to at least 80 percent in these months.
Self-employed with an annual turnover of NIS 300,000 will also receive an additional monetary grant, double that which they received in the first phase. Also, the criteria for receiving advances will be changed from 20 percent to 40 percent relative to the previous phase. It was also decided to continue giving higher grants to businesses that kept workers despite the Coronavirus crisis.
The plan currently being put forward by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Finance Minister Katz is part of a comprehensive policy for managing the crisis. Alongside the acceleration of the economy, independent wage-earners and businesses that need assistance will receive an appropriate response. The plan is designed to facilitate the immediate channeling of significant funds to the self-employed and the business sector, without delays and unnecessary impediments, thereby enabling them to weather the crisis. The foregoing is in addition to the allocation of NIS 7,500 grants for every employee who is returned to work.
The state budget and a comprehensive arrangements law will be submitted soon. The latter will provide for competition vis-à-vis the major monopolies and for reforms to remove impediments and regulation, and which will assist economic activity and lead to renewed economic growth.
The Coronavirus pandemic slammed Israel’s economy for some two months. Businesses have largely reopened over the past month, but many continue to struggle with severely reduced work.
Israel’s unemployment rates also remain very high, at 21 percent — only somewhat better than the 27 percent peak at the height of the pandemic. These include some 862,000 unemployed and 605,000 on unpaid leave. In February, unemployment had been at a record low of 3.4%.