Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz announced that sales taxes on several products, such as clothing and electronics, will be canceled to help Israelis cope with the financial fallout from the COVID pandemic. They also said that they would extend unemployment benefits for another month for Israelis who were recently laid off.
According to the plan, duties and taxes for electronics, cellphones, shoes, clothing, home appliances, and lighting, toys, cosmetics, baby products, and glasses will be lifted.
The statement adds that the tax cuts were permanent. Both Netanyahu and Katz “were presented with an effective evaluation which showed that the temporary cancellation of duties and purchase taxes led to a significant drop in the prices of consumer goods over time”, reports TOI.
Katz and Netanyahu also agreed to prolong the eligibility of Israelis placed on unpaid leave to collect unemployment benefits for another 35 days, in order to compensate them for the countrywide lockdown enacted by the government.
And, as welcome as these measures may be, unfortunately, they’re nowhere near enough. According to the Employment Service, although close to 300,000 Israelis have returned to work since mid-April when the economy started to resume activity, over 100,000 others lost their jobs. These include people who are new to the world of unemployment. Although the government has extended their benefits for another 35 days, they will only be earning a mere fraction of what they once made. Additionally, once those 35 days are up, many will have no way of feeding their families.
Fortunately, one organization in Israel is preparing for this daunting scenario. Colel Chabad has been providing food delivery for those who not only can’t afford to buy food but are also unable to leave their homes. As Israel’s economy is slow to recover, Colel Chabad must now prepare for a massive wave of new clientele who are new to the world of poverty. This means buying more food, increasing their capacity as service providers, and growing their staff.
However, all of this costs money – money that Colel Chabad simply doesn’t have.
But that’s where you can step in and help. Colel Chabad is currently accepting donations from Israel’s friends worldwide who don’t want to see the Jewish people living in the Promised Land without the basic necessities