Cabinet Approves Coronavirus Stimulus ‘Check for Every Citizen’ Program

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz at the weekly Cabinet meeting, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yerushalayim, July 5. (Amit Shabi/POOL)

The government approved on Sunday afternoon the “check for every citizen” program, which would give every citizen a financial grant with a minimum of NIS 750 ($218) per person.

According to the plan, families with one child will receive NIS 2,000; families with two children, NIS 2,500; families of three or more, NIS 3,000; and individuals 18 and older will get NIS 750.

Some NIS 6 billion ($1.75 billion) will be allocated for the grants, which will be given to all citizens with the exception of those earning over NIS 640,000 ($186,000) per annum and senior civil servants earning over NIS 30,000 ($8,700) per month.”

The bid now goes to the Knesset for approval. The coalition is expected to push for the plan’s rapid passage in the Knesset Monday.

The government hopes to implement the plan and distribute the money by the end of this week.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “we are also working on additional plans to encourage the economy and channel funds to those who have been hurt by the coronavirus. We will continue to move the wheels of the economy in order to put people back to work.”

At the Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that Israelis must be more careful to heed social distancing and mask-wearing rules to curb the virus spread.

“But I want to emphasize — there are no magic solutions,” he added. “Without the personal responsibility of all the citizens of Israel, there is no possibility of stemming the spread of the virus. I want to say I’ve seen an improvement in the behavior, but more is needed. The virus will be beaten by wearing masks, keeping personal space, hygiene and avoiding large gatherings.”

Also at the meeting, the government reduced the Coronavirus Cabinet from 16 to 10 ministers.

On the panel are Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Science Minister Yizhar Shay, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, Labor Minister Amir Peretz, and Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri.

Though many of the decisions relate to the school system, Education Minister Yoav Galant was kept off the Cabinet. Also removed were the tourism minister, welfare minister, transportation minister and social equality minister. Former Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, who led the Health Ministry for most of the last decade, was also left out of the new Cabinet.

According to reports, Gantz had asked Netanyahu to reduce the number of members of the Corona Cabinet.