Israel’s economy – when the virus gets at the decision makers
When decision makers at Israel’s Ministry of Finance first tried to deal with the corona issue, most of the initiative (ie funds) went into creating a new quick-fit loan scheme. Brilliant. All this does is permit extra debt for the SME sector, which is usually already in debt.
Move forward two weeks with unemployment at 20% and nothing much has changed. The Bank of Israel will borrow money, but there is little immediate help for the individual. The government – well, it is a one-person outfit and is not functioning.
Let me give you one example, but so wide-ranging in its implications.
Ami Appelbaum is Israel’s chief scientist and chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority. He is encouraging high-tech companies not to lay off staff, particularly at the small start ups. However, on survey has shown that “five percent of Israeli tech companies have already fired workers, and 64% have frozen new hires”.
But this is what is really crazy. Appelbaum appreciates that overseas sales’ trips are not possible. Much of the FDI has dried up from international VCs. However, monies promised by the government………….?
…….budgets have been put on hold. Indeed, the Innovation Authority in January said it would be halting the grants it provides startups for research and development projects due to the lack of approved funding. Appelbaum said he hoped to soon be able to finance the grants that have already been approved.
You must be kidding! How many people have to be laid off needlessly because the politicians and / or bureaucrats cannot work out a solution?
That approach is unacceptable. The Israeli public deserves better from the people whose salaries are paid for by the public themselves!