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Gov’t announces fresh NIS 10.5 billion virus aid package, pay cuts for lawmakers

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The cabinet approved an NIS 10.5 billion ($3 billion) aid package late Monday to try and assist those affected by Israel’s second national lockdown, including pay cuts for lawmakers and senior government officials.

“Expanding the program will enable immediate economic assistance to businesses and the self employed who are likely to be harmed by the current lockdown, said a joint statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the Finance Ministry.

The package comes as the government has faced a major pushback from many small businesses, including leading restaurateurs, who have threatened to rebel against the lockdown and open their doors to customers, saying they won’t survive the economic hurt of a new extended closure, and have little faith in government promises of eventual compensation.

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“We have announced new grants to retain workers, expanded state guaranteed loans, brought forward paying grants and giving grants for permanent expenses, including for business that have suffered more than 25% losses — and expanded eligibility,” Netanyahu said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, listens to then-Foreign Minister Israel, now Finance Minister,........

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