In order to reduce the economic pain many Israelis are facing because of Operation Protective Edge – from businesses that are losing money due to lost sales, to employees who are not being fully compensated for their salaries while they serve on reserve duty – the government on Thursday introduced a series of steps that will ease the burden on families.
The steps, approved by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, will allow reservists to get their state-provided replacement salaries immediately, and not after a month or the end of their reserve duty, as is usually the case. In addition, transfer payments to students, the unemployed, and others who receive money from the National Insurance Institute, will be paid ahead of schedule.
In addition, the Defense Ministry is planning a number of steps to provide more security for Israelis. An additional 500 “mini-shelters,” where people can quickly take cover in the event of a missile attack, are to be built in central and southern Israel. A new blood bank will be set up, and a plan will be drawn up to help restore tourism, which has suffered badly during the war. In addition, dates for submitting tax payments will be postponed.
The steps comes in parallel to one offered by the Economics Ministry that will provide special assistance for small and mid-sized enterprises in the south. Factories and businesses will be able to take out low-interest loans, receive help in getting compensation from government agencies and insurance companies, and other special benefits.