New Gov’t to End Unemployment Benefits for 68% of Job Seekers

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 13, the Knesset will hold a vote of confidence that, if passed, will confirm the creation of the 36th government of Israel, an eight-party coalition that will see prime minister-designate Naftali Bennett of the far-right Yamina party rotate the premiership with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. The new government will include 28 ministers and 6 deputy ministers, making it one of the largest cabinets ever to govern in Israel, though smaller than the last government. Far-right Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Lieberman will be the Minister of the Treasury.

Leader of the far-right Yisrael Beytenu party, MK Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's finance minister-designate in the Bennett-Lapid government

Leader of the far-right Yisrael Beytenu party, MK Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s finance minister-designate in the Bennett-Lapid government (Footage: N12)

The neoliberal finance minister-designate Lieberman told the N12 news channel on Wednesday night, June 9, that beginning July 1 he plans to stop providing unemployment payments to all persons under the age of 45. This group represents 68% of the 506,000 registered job seekers in Israel. The government’s economic safety net plan, introduced at the start of the coronavirus epidemic, which had paid job seekers up to 70% of their original salary, is scheduled to be terminated at the end of June.

A third of the people receiving unemployment benefits in April have been receiving these payments for 12-14 consecutive months, the research unit of the National Insurance Institute (NIS) reported on Sunday, June 6. Thirty-four percent of the 506,000 people receiving benefits in April have been unemployed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 73%, or 370,000 people, have been receiving benefits for six months or more.

The average unemployment benefit paid per day for April 2021 was NIS 180 (New Israeli Shekels, about 55 US$), with singles averaging NIS 158; married individuals getting NIS 191; women being paid NIS 166 and men receiving a daily average of NIS 194 ILS per day. The average daily payment for the young (aged18 to 24) was NIS 122 and for the unemployed from 35 to 54 years old, NIS 200. Of job seekers receiving benefits, about 51% were women, 56% were married and 32% were single, the NIS report said.