Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettSraya Diamant/Flash90

Yamina party leader MK Naftali Bennett has published the first section of his economic plan, entitled: “Emergency Planning – From Unemployment to Income within 200 Days.”

The plan was developed in collaboration with experts in the field of economics who are intimately familiar with the way in which the Israeli economy operates.

Bennett claims that by July, 2021, there will be an influx of 800,000 people seeking work in the country as a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and that the time for the government to begin preparing for this eventuality is right now. He adds that over half of those jobseekers will be under the age of 34, and that at least half of those currently without jobs are “chronically unemployed” who will likely remain so unless the government initiates programs to get them back to work.

“This crisis we’re in now is also an opportunity,” Bennett insists. “The government must not take us back to where we were in December, 2019 – we have to move forward, to providing citizens with a better source of livelihood.”

In his new plan, Bennett outlines the steps he believes government should be taking:

1) Swift reopening of all businesses still shuttered, in a safe manner under the ‘purple tag’ system, in all green areas with low coronavirus infection rates across the country.

2) Making efforts to ensure the gradual return of the 800,000 unemployed to the job market, in such a way that the job market will not suddenly be flooded with those seeking work.

3) Initiating a voucher program for professional job training that will be piloted by the private sector and funded on the basis of individual companies’ records.

4) Further development and promotion of programs that have already proven successful in providing jobs for younger workers.

5) Establishment of a ministerial taskforce, led by the prime minister and incorporating representatives of the private sector. Appointment of a special government representative who will coordinate all the government’s economic initiatives.

The estimated cost of Bennett’s plan amounts to one billion shekels for the vouchers for job training programs, which, Bennett hopes, will lead to around 70% of those participating (around 100,000 people) finding work. Bennett would also seek to invest another half billion shekels in pre-existing programs designed to provide job training.