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July 9, 2020 3:38 pm

Netanyahu Pledges More Welfare Spending as COVID Forces New Shutdowns

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Police officers patrol near a road block, on Elad, Israel, June 24, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new welfare package on Thursday for Israelis who have lost livelihoods due to the coronavirus crisis, saying the measures would provide an economic safety net for the coming year.

A surge in contagion prompted the government to reimpose closures on businesses this week, dashing hopes of a recovery from a record 21% unemployment and stoking anger at the slow payout of $29 billion in aid previously pledged by the state.

In a televised news conference, Netanyahu said Israel would make those who lost jobs to the crisis eligible for welfare through to mid-2021, provide retraining for “coronavirus-era professions” and expedite grants for ailing businesses.

“We want to arrive at a situation where people know how we will manage to live over the coming year,” he said. “It would cover all of the losses, but we have to provide a security net.”

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