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.

  • Religious politicians don’t care so long as the towns with their supporters are not forced into lockdown.
  • The PM is too busy trying to show off the significance of his truly important peace deal with the UAE, and (assumedly) prepare for his trial on three counts of corruption.
  • The treasury budget head doesn’t care any more (or cares too much?) as he has just quit.

Who is around to help the average Israeli citizen cope with the economic mess? Mess? Yup. As of yesterday, Thursday, Israel had the worst corona stat per head in the world. There are still nearly 900,000 unemployed, in a country of 9 million citizens. And the Minister of Finances’ core move so far seems to be his demand for a public sector wage cut.

In a formal statement last night, the PM said:

……, we know that there are still major difficulties. We are constantly discussing additional steps – negative income tax and other things that we are discussing, in order to provide more and more solutions to the citizens of Israel and businesses in Israel. We are not letting up even for a moment.   We do not have one mission, we have two: To see to both health and the economy.

His Finance Minister added:

……………. We are now sitting here in order to analyze and see the economic situation and decide on the necessary steps.   In general, as the Prime Minister said, the August data were good even in relation to the pre-corona situation in most sectors. This is no wonder. We have now provided the Israeli economy, to 4.5 million Israelis who used to fly overseas, with open skies. Today they are with the open ground in Israel; they are here and accelerating activity.

Hmmmm! Reassuring? Sitting around and discussing!

Yesterday, I was on the phone to a lady, whose business has collapsed. She has also been ill. She qualifies for none of the small special financial handouts. She was nearly crying to me, asking why the government is not doing anything.

And sure, we discussed pivoting etc, but it sounded so pathetic.

I do believe the government cares. I also believe that the government is completely out of touch. It has been in power for too long and thus is incapable of changing.

Israel needs – no, demands – a “New Deal”. And a team, based around the ideals of cigar smokers in large villas who create policies based on slogans but not facts, ain’t got what it takes.

(My best wishes to the lady who inspired this blog).

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