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.

March 23rd 2021 is election day in Israel – for the fourth time in two years.

If you take into account the extra finance for the parties, the cost of maintaining the booths and the counting, and the lost productivity as it is always a general holiday, the country is expected to “invest” about two billion shekels (approx US$600 million) into putting on this jamboree. Aha!

As I ask, who is listening, especially when this is round 4? What else is left to say?

Well, there are some new parties, breakaways from the bigger players. And there are some genuinely new parties, formed by people over the age of 70. So nothing overtly inspiring. As many people have been telling me, they have cut down on the number of newspapers they buy and the TV news they used to watch. i am part of that section of the electorate.

If that two billion shekels is not enough, the government has finally started to formulate a plan to help the small and medium sized business community. The official plan is called and I quote: ‘From blocking to growth”. (This of course raises the question as to who or what has been doing the blocking until now?)

Today, the Finance Minister and I (Prime Minister Netanyahu) are submitting a proposal to give over NIS 2 billion in additional grants to the self-employed and to business owners. This is thousands of shekels more for every business owner who has been hurt during the coronavirus period. We are also extending the period for paying local property taxes. The money will – immediately – make it easier for businesses and within a short time we will open the entire economy and we will emerge from the crisis once and for all.

So we can afford to spend 2 billion on unwanted elections, because the governors cannot govern, but all the SMEs together are only worth that same amount.

Interesting. Ironic? Sad! To be fair, money has previously been made available. And what is helpful is that the conditions of the programme today are much improved. But why of why wait until an election campaign has been started?

This coming Friday, Israel is likely to commence another full lockdown. None of the previous three have been properly enforced, which raises another question: How can a person vote for a government that has not blatantly done its utmost to protect your safety?

However, one benefit of the lockdown should mean that more eager voters will be at home…………. with time to watch their favourite politicians on the news, no?

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