Israeli unemployment passes 27% mark, report calls for immediate action

“There’s no time to make mistakes, or the price is liable to be very high,” Ness said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel’s unemployment rate jumped to 27.6 percent with 1.2 million seeking work – one-third of the entire workforce. Before coronavirus hit, Israel’s unemployment number stood at 3.9 percent.

In April, 177,400 Israelis lost their jobs compared to 850,500 in March. March’s daily unemployment average was 6,000, despite the number of holidays, including two days of Passover and Independence Day.

Israeli Employment Service Director-General Rami Garor said, “We’re preparing to put into action a sweeping plan – help for those put on leave without pay and arrangements for the waves of additional unemployed coming soon.”

An advisory committee, the “Ness Forum for Saving the Economy,” formed by the minister of economy two weeks ago to look into ways to deal with the economic fallout, issued its recommendations on Sunday.

It called for a deferral of credits and loans, helping local businesses so they could hire back their workers and increasing the rate at which the government guarantees business loans to at least 50 percent (it currently stands at 15%, one of the lowest in the world).

It also recommended encouraging and incentivizing the purchase of Israeli products to encourage local industry.

The forum’s report is 114 pages. The forum was led by Dr. Shlomo Ness, an accountant and attorney specializing in rescuing small businesses.

“In order to halt the crisis tomorrow and to create growth on the one hand – demands immediate action, comprehensive and broad-based, with intelligent actions, precise and smart. There’s no time to make mistakes, or the price is liable to be very high,” Ness said.