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Israeli Employment Office: A Million New Jobless Expected by Early April

Israel’s Employment Bureau, which helps fill job openings in both the private and public sectors, projects that some 1 million people in the country will be newly unemployed by Passover, which begins on the evening of April 8, due to coronavirus layoffs. A bureau official told Army Radio on Tuesday that over 615,000 Israelis had registered as jobless since the outbreak of the pandemic, raising official unemployment rates from about 3.5% in February to over 18.5%, with 31,000 registrations in the previous day alone. Anyone in Israel who seeks unemployment compensation must first sign up with the bureau. Over 90% of those registering in the past month say their employer had placed them on unpaid leave. Newly enacted coronavirus regulations in the country call on people to remain home unless they work in essential jobs, such as those involved in security, healthcare or food production and sales. The government, meanwhile, has pledged to assist business owners and the self-employed, such as flower growers and tour guides, although they complain that the assistance will be available only to those with larger revenues.