(July 30, 2020 / JNS) Israel’s Knesset passed the Economic Aid Plan Bill in second and third readings on Wednesday. The legislation, known as the “Safety Net” program, aims to help those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation passed by a vote of 67-0, with three abstentions.
Under the plan, which was presented by Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz, unemployment benefits will be extended until June 2021, or until unemployment drops below 7.5 percent. If unemployment falls below 10 percent, benefits will be decreased to 90 percent.
Self-employed Israelis who report a 40 percent decline in business volume will receive a grant of up to NIS 15,000 ($4,400) every two months. Businesses that reported annual profits of NIS 100 million ($29 million), NIS 200 million ($58 million) and up to NIS 400 million ($116 million) will receive scaled aid if they can prove a decline in profits of 40 percent, 60 percent or 80 percent.
There are also grants and loans for those fired or on unpaid leave, and also for recently released Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers.
The program also sets aside NIS 100 million ($29 million) accessible to aid foundations and NGOs affected by donations drying up due to the pandemic. Katz is set to decide on the criteria for receiving the funds in August.
Katz called the program “a dynamic economic safety net that adjusts itself in all areas in order to help people get through this period.”
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