Liberman Denies Businesses Hurting, Says No Handouts

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday that despite complaints and calls for help, most businesses are doing fine in the fifth covid wave and will not qualify for financial assistance.

“There will be aid to businesses hurt by COVID, but there won’t be any handouts,” said Liberman on Sunday. “There won’t be any electoral bribery.”

Liberman accused some of the business leaders who are complaining about financial collapse are trying to deceive the public.

“Some of them are listed on the stock exchange, so I can check their quarterly reports,” says Liberman “I wish we would all be in such a situation in 2022.”

Liberman, who has long been opposed to funding government compensation of companies due to COVID, claims that “currently, most businesses are in excellent shape.”

Leaders in the business sector disagree. The Association of Chambers of Commerce says that there’s a 30 percent drop in daily business volume in retail outlets and chains.

They described the decline in business as a tremendous blow to some 56,000 retailers employing about 300,000 people.

Ezra Attia, chairman of the Merchandisers Association, who represents over 1,000 stores in Yerushalayim, estimated that the fall in daily volume had reached 40 percent in the past week.

“Many people aren’t coming to shop because they’re afraid of getting infected, and because they are no clear instructions [from the government] the situation is liable to get worse,” he warned.

“Everything must be done to prevent people from falling below the poverty line,” National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler said Sunday according to The Jerusalem Post.

“There is no doubt that the number of people in quarantine is rising meteorically. We need to pay attention to the situation, which is preventing people from being able to make a living.”

The NII has yet to receive new instructions or guidelines from the government, Spiegler said.

“Whatever happens, and as long as the government and the Knesset make decisions to provide a social-security solution for residents who will be harmed, we will be prepared,” he said.

“They were at the bottom of the pyramid, and the grants and aid improved their ability to cope with the situation,” he said of the last covid wave. “As long as this lasts for a long period of time, there may be a situation where people will be hurt to the point of collapse.”