Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

90 percent of our economy is working again and we continue to move forward.

Thus spoke Prime Minister Netanyahu on 15th June. This amazing statement demands some justification. After all, unemployment which had peaked at 27% is assumed still be north of 20%. Walk around any city centre, and you cannot fail to see the many properties simply abandoned.

International flights are few. In fact, El Al today even grounded its cargo trips. That automatically impacts on tens of thousands of jobs. New mortgages, a reflection of the property market, are described as ‘sluggish‘. Even the accounting giant EY is laying off people.

The newspaper “Ha’aretz“, no friend of the Prime Minister, has called for a rethink. Netanyahu personally is well-positioned. His wealth is valued way above US$50 million. In addition to his healthy monthly salary, last week he was voted a tax break by his allies to the tune of around 1 million shekels.

So what is on the increase?

  • The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which had fallen by about a third since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, has made up half of those losses.
  • The price of housing is on the move upwards, as there are fewer building starts.
  • Large chains and supermarkets are enjoying a spike in sales, as fewer people are prepared to eat outdoors.

None of this is particularly inspiring. At least, Israeli tech companies have raised over $4.7 billion in the first six months of 2020, close to half the figure for the whole of Covid-19 free 2019.

In previous blogs, I complained how the mandarins of master planners seem to be out of touch with what is happening in the economy. I know of so many good businesses crying out for support, but do not meet the criteria of the ‘professionals’. Is that surprising?

Well some senior decision makers are on record of declaring that 90% of the country is back on its economic feet. Hmmmm!

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