On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement in an attempt to calm fears that the coronavirus would cripple Israel’s economy saying: “The Israeli economy is in an excellent situation. We are entering the Corona crisis and our situation is better than most countries around the world.”
But not everyone seems to share his sentiments including Israel’s union chief Arnon Bar-David who had a far more pessimistic outlook saying, “We’re on the verge of a ‘Yom Kippur’ [Day of Atonement] for the entire Israeli economy. I fear for the fate of our economy and our society.”
Meanwhile, the Ramon Airport in Israel’s south announced last week that they will be laying off childless employees while trying to keep employees who are parents on the payroll. The development comes as flights have been cut and revenue streams have dried up. The airport’s management doesn’t know when or if it will be in a position to rehire them.
Many tour companies throughout the country placed their tour guides on unpaid leave for the coming months. Issta, Israel’s biggest tour operator, has closed down all of its nationwide branches.
Airlines have also altered their pilots’ salary structure from a monthly wage to an hourly wage. The measure included senior pilots. This was compounded by the cancellation of various flight paths and reduced flight hours.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu has announced that he will try to soften the blow suffered by businesses that affected by the new reality with a NIS 4 million ($1 billion) fund to provide them the relief it needs. However many small business owners are worried that the money, which won’t be nearly enough to cover the total losses, will go to the bigger companies with connections to the government.