Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz have announced a 1.45 billion shekel package of cancellations of duties and purchase taxes, along with an extension of unemployment benefits, to ease the financial burden caused by the coronavirus crisis.
“The Finance Minister and I held discussions and reached two agreements to ease restrictions on the public at this time. First is the extension of eligibility for those who are receiving unemployment benefits. Second is relief on duties on a range of products – cellular telephones, clothing, footwear and others. The goal here is to get the economy moving, get the wheels turning and ease restrictions for you, citizens of Israel,” PM Netanyahu said in a statement released on Sunday night.
Katz said: “Alongside the major plan that we are leading and which we have put in motion to provide incentives for the return of millions of unemployed to work, we also sought to do those things that would make it easier for the public in the interim. The most important thing the Prime Minister said is to extend the eligibility for unemployment benefits for young people to give everyone an extra month while the economy was closed. We will add this month for them so that when their unemployment benefits are about to run out, they will receive an extra month. This is good news for hundreds of thousands of people.”
“ [Following] the recommendation of the professional echelon, counting the days for unemployment benefits will begin on 19 April, 2020, and not 15 March, 2020. Therefore, the number of unemployment days will not include the period during which economic activity was under significant restrictions due to the corona crisis. As a result, the eligibility period will be extended in accordance with the existing eligibility rules by around 35 days,” a statement from the PMO said.
According to the decision, duties and purchase taxes will be permanently cancelled on the following products: Mobile telephones – 15%; Footwear – 12%; Clothing and textiles – 6%; Electronic goods for entertainment, 15%-30%; Home electronic goods – 6%-12%; Light fixtures and light bulbs – 8%-12%; Toys and games – 12%; Cosmetics – 12%; Baby products – 12%; Frames and lenses for eyeglasses – 12%.