Finance Ministry to present Netanyahu with benefit plan for unemployed
The Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday that it began working on a new benefit plan to aid those currently out of work, seeing as the second lockdown imposed by the government is expected to continue, the ministry announced.
Finance Minister Israel Katz said he intends to present the plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the next few days.
“National responsibility and mutual aid compel all of us not to abandon employees and those who own their own businesses to their fate and help them as much as needed,” Katz said. “I mean to do just that.”
The yet-to-be released plan joins the Safety Nets Plan, the Check for Every Citizen Plan and the Beating Heart Plan, making it the fourth of its kind since the pandemic began. All these plans were meant to offer support to Israelis during the pandemic and offer relief facing the ongoing policy of state-wide lockdowns, which affects tourism, flights, cultural activities and education, among others.
The new plan means to aid workers placed on unpaid leave by offering them monthly benefits reaching thousands of shekels with the idea they will eventually have a fixed monthly income of some sort. The exact amount that they would be receiving in benefits has not yet been released.
The report an additional 5,188 were announced as having become unemployed since Monday. The total number of Israelis out of work now stands at 947,216. Since the second lockdown began, 219,016 people lost their jobs. The government vowed to extend unemployment benefits until next year.
Netanyahu said he means to be “more careful than careful” and that this second lockdown will last “between half a year to a year.”
Katz said that small businesses should be allowed to reopen under the existing "Purple Badge" guidelines. Economy Minister Amir Peretz seconded his remarks.
The coronavirus cabinet is meant to meet on Thursday and, following discussions, Israelis may be informed if, when and how the lockdown might be slowly reduced.
The new plan is meant to be carried out in addition to the existing relief efforts.
Israel does not have a budget for this year nor did it begin creating a state budget for 2021. If the government does not agree on a budget, it will collapse and another round of elections will be held. The nation currently has the highest deficit in its history. When asked about this, Netanyahu said that "we shouldn't be afraid to take loans."