The success of Israel’s “full speed ahead” vaccine drive has not diminished the Central Bank’s fear that high unemployment rates will long outlive the pandemic itself.
The Bank of Israel was optimistic about the country’s economy as it maintained its benchmark interest rate of 0.1% at the end of February for the 7th consecutive decision, reports Bloomberg.
But although the Bank of Israel was upbeat, 2020 growth data fails to tell the entire story. The Monetary Committee released a statement along with the decision saying: “Labor market data reflects the real magnitude of the crisis,” cautioning that the virus’s “adverse impact on the economy and particularly on the labor market, is expected to be prolonged.”
Israel is quickly vaccinating its people against COVID-19, with nearly half its population of 9.3 million people getting their first shot.
However, the jobs report from January demonstrated an unemployment rate of 18% when Israel was in lockdown, a 13% increase from before the closure, and 3.4% from the beginning of the pandemic.
Israel’s unemployment problem is rapidly sending more and more families into poverty. This phenomenon poses a major challenge for Food Banks like Meir Panim. That’s because Meir Panim is facing unprecedented demand for meals for Israel’s impoverished population as it grows at a record pace, while simultaneously facing it’s own set of logistical challenges due to Covid.
Prior to the pandemic, this organization served patrons out of its Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens from surplus food rescued from neary hotels and restaurants. However, with hotels and restaurants closed, including its own kitchens, there is no leftover food. Therefore, Meir Panim transitioned to cooking everything from scratch and providing meals through Takeout and its Meals-on-Wheels program!
This is certainly no small task, and while the organization has been able to triple its operations thus far, with no sign of things slowing down, Meir Panim is determined to remain a lifeline to as many needy Israeli’s as possible for as long as it takes.
That’s why Meir Panim is turning to Friends of Israel worldwide for help.
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