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Coronavirus: Head of Largest Union Warns ‘Israel Economy on the Brink of a Yom Kippur”

Histadrut labor federation chairman Arnon Bar-David added: “The economy is bleeding, huge companies are on the verge of collapse, layoffs have started. The Israeli economy cannot hold more than 48 hours as it is today.” 

Histadrut labor federation chairman Arnon Bar-David (photo credit Histadrut)

Amid the crisis of the novel coronavirus, the leader of Israel’s trade union on Tuesday warned: “If the prime minister does not start managing the situation, then we are on the verge of the Yom Kippur of the Israeli economy.”

The Israeli news site N12 reported from a special press conference by Histadrut labor federation chairman Arnon Bar-David. According to the report, he added: “The economy is bleeding, huge companies are on the verge of collapse, layoffs have started. The Israel economy cannot hold more than 48 hours as it is today.”

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that foreign travelers required two weeks of self-quarantine, and the train to Ben-Gurion International Airport was shut down, Arnon Bar-David warned: “Thousands of employees have been put on furlough — which will hurt tens of thousands of workers and families in Israel.”

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Bar-David recommended the dispersal of massive government grants to the hardest-hit industries in the country, particularly travel and tourism.

He also demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu appoint a corona czar to deal with the problem. “We need economic leadership now,” he said, calling the government to work together with the Histadrut to contain the crisis.

The head of the Israel Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses, Roi Cohen, slammed the government’s reaction, saying independent contractors and the self-employed would be particularly negatively impacted by the crisis.

“I urge the Histadrut together with the business sector to disrupt and block the swearing-in of the [new] Knesset until a real response is given to the business sector and the economy,” Cohen asserted.

The president of the Builders Association, Raul Srugo, said Netanyahu and his top political rival Benny Gantz should stop their infighting and “establish an economic emergency government.”




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