Nationwide Unemployment 25%; 70% in Eilat, 47% in Nazareth

The southern city of Eilat has taken the biggest blow in Israel to its workforce due to the coronavirus crisis, with nearly 70% out of work by the end of March, according to figures released Sunday, April 5 by the Israel National Employment Service. At the beginning of April, unemployed workers in Israel passed the 1,000,000 mark for the first time ever, representing 25% of the national workforce.

Guestless hotels and empty beaches in the city of Eilat

Guestless hotels and empty beaches in the city of Eilat (Photo: Eilat Municipality)

At the beginning of March, unemployment in the southern port city was just 3.3%, the service said in a statement. By the beginning of April, 68% of Eilat’s workforce had been laid off and had filed for unemployment benefits. In Eilat, where most employees work in tourism, food, or recreation services, the results of the restrictions have been particularly significant. All but one of the hotels (an apartment accommodation) has closed its doors.

Among the other cities most impacted by the economic slowdown is Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, with unemployment numbers rising from 6.3% to 46.6% in a month. It is followed by the Bnei Brak (34%) home to a large ultra-orthodox community, then the predominantly Arab-Bedouin city of Rahat (33%), the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm (33%) and Beit Shemesh, which also has a large ultra-Orthodox community, with 29% unemployed. The central city of Lod is next with 28%, then Bat Yam and Jerusalem with 26.4% each. In Tel Aviv and Haifa, unemployment is at 21.5%, compared to the national average of 25% at the end of March.