The popular American idiom “freedom isn’t free” found fertile support in Israel Tuesday, as businesses shuttered for the day and the government shelled out for early elections.
According to BDI, a business information group, the economy would forgo NIS 1.1 billion in lost business due to the elections. That figure, says BDI, takes into account the hordes of election day revelers who stimulate the economy on their day off by sitting in restaurants, sipping beer or coffee and lunching with their friends.
That price eclipses the measly NIS 246.78 million election budget the Knesset Finance committee approved in October, which amounted to a NIS 40 million increase than the previous election.
Part of the reason for the high price tag is that 40,000 enterprises that remain open are required to pay higher wages to their workers, compensating them for labor on a national holiday.