Comptroller slams Netanyahu gov't's handling of Covid crisis

Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Katz, pre-Covid-19 / Photo: Knesset spokesperson

From unemployment to business loans, and decisions on lockdowns, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is harshly critical of the Netanyahu government's handling of the Covid crisis.

Israel's State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman has issued a special report on the Netanyahu government's handling of the Covid crisis. The report is harshly critical of the government for taking decisions such as entering lockdown and distributing NIS 200 billion in economic aid, without taking into account the economic repercussions of them, and without setting out how the decisions were reached. The report claims the aid was given at the behest of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without fully consulting with the Ministry of Finance and National economic Council

The report is especially critical of the government's failure to form a national plan to combat the unemployment caused by the pandemic and the lockdowns, and found that NIS 1 billion in unemployment benefits was erroneously handed out. The report slams the Israel Employment Service for failing to operate adequate retraining programs - less than in routine times. The National Insurance Institute, did not provide the public with proper service, despite hiring an extra 200 people for its call center. The Israel Tax Authority came under fire for failing to distribute business loans to those that most needed them.

The State Comptroller also found that recommendations from senior civil servants in how to tackle the crisis were not implemented, in particular in ending lockdowns too soon and not more gradually as proposed by the Ministry of Health. The report also found that efforts to explain the pandemic to the Arab and Ultra-Orthodox sectors were slow in coming, aggravating the infection rate in those population sectors.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 31, 2021

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Katz, pre-Covid-19 / Photo: Knesset spokesperson
Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Katz, pre-Covid-19 / Photo: Knesset spokesperson
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