Hundreds of thousands of Israelis could be laid off without change

The Manufacturers' Association of Israel has warned that if the situation doesn't drastically change, hundreds of thousands of employees will be laid off.

 Independent business owners and workers from the tourism sector protest, calling for financial support from the Israeli government, outside the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 13, 2021 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Independent business owners and workers from the tourism sector protest, calling for financial support from the Israeli government, outside the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 13, 2021
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Dr. Ron Tomer, president of the Manufacturers' Association of Israel, warned about some drastic economic problems facing Israel in the near future. 

Tomer stated that when a house is on fire, one can't spill gasoline nearby and that he expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to keep his election promises.

Tomer said that if the economic situation doesn't change, the private sector will shrink because Israel is entering a recession. Several tens of thousands of workers have already been laid off. If systemic solutions aren't developed to encourage employment and industry, the wave of layoffs will soar in 2023 to 100-200,000.

How can Israel stop an incoming lay-off crisis?

A letter was released not long ago from the hi-tech industry, warning against the dangerous economic and employment situation in Israel. Although he didn't sign it, Tomer says that he agrees with the message, but that he doesn't believe this is the way to go about things.

Tomer stated that this letter may cause more harm than good, and may promote an investment boycott of Israel. First of all, the issue needs to be corrected from within. There are other ways to fight, and he doesn't believe the house is really burning. 

 A woman is frustrated while working from her computer with notebooks all around her (Illustrative) (credit: PXHERE) A woman is frustrated while working from her computer with notebooks all around her (Illustrative) (credit: PXHERE)

Tomer stated that the government is responsible for the price of electricity, which is increasing by 8.2%. After electricity and water, the property tax, which is linked to the salary in the public sector, will become more expensive. 

People can buy less expensive food products, but electricity, water and property taxes must be paid as is. He expects Netanyahu to fulfill his election promises to freeze electricity and property taxes.

Tomer continued his warnings, saying that not only prices, but the safety of the food supply must be discussed. Europe will go through a difficult winter and in China production is being reduced. Also, there might be a shortage of penicillin, which is essential for disease prevention. 

If these industries aren't maintained there won't be any goods. Also, the food industry is unfairly put on the grill and blamed. Tomer also attacked the Histadrut's cost of living campaign, saying that Israel needs to raise wages only for the weaker sections, and do it proportionately

"We should stop talking about minimum wage, but about minimum income," he said. 

"We should stop talking about minimum wage, but about minimum income."

Dr. Ron Tomer

Also, the needs of the disabled and the elderly aren't being tended to. Unfortunately, it seems that the workers' union is being used to squeeze raises for the powerful, he claimed.

Tomer said that the Histadrut doesn't fight over electricity prices because the solutions come at the expense of the electricity company. One has to ask where the tens of millions for the Histadrut's cost of living campaign came from, Tomer added.