Annual forum examines financial losses to businesses due to coronavirus

"We are on the brink of an earthquake. The population is steadily growing, as are their needs, and the Israeli government hasn't offered a single solution," said the CEO of one construction company.

View of the construction site of 'Mechir Lamishtaken' at Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem on January 28, 2019. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
View of the construction site of 'Mechir Lamishtaken' at Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem on January 28, 2019.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Dun & Bradstreet hosted its annual conference forum this morning, which was virtual because of the coronavirus crisis. It centered on the effects of the coronavirus on the business market, rising housing prices and lack of land availability.
Chief of Data & Analytics Efrat Segev noted that, specifically with Israel's first lockdown, the progress and development of building projects has been set back by at least four months. Currently, the debate rages over the possibility of a third lockdown for 2020.
According to Segev, there's been a doubling of building, infrastructure and investment companies declaring bankruptcy in 2020 compared to 2019. She included over 2,000 companies in this count. "Looking forward to 2021," she said, "we can only see uncertainty."
"At this rate," she added, "the bankruptcy rates we've seen in 2020 will continue well into 2021."
The company has the largest collection of information on business in the world, with millions of clients worldwide.
Founded in 1841, Dun & Bradstreet has branches all over the world. Since its establishment in Israel in 1961, the company has been supporting and advising various factions of the Israeli economic sector, from government and real estate companies to small businesses. According to its website, it is the "leading company in Israel and worldwide in risk management and investment opportunities for businesses."
In September 2019, Dun & Bradstreet published a list of the companies with the most employee satisfaction. At the time, Segev said, "After years where the same companies were at the top of the list, it seems as though Israeli hi-tech giants have managed to catch up."
"The main reason for the recent rise in housing prices," said Micha Klein, CEO of AFI Residences, "is the serious crisis of land availability that's currently happening."
Roni Mizrachi, one of the CEOs of the Mizrachi & Sons Group construction company, put it bluntly: "We are on the brink of an earthquake."
Mizrachi explained that "the population is steadily growing, as are their needs, and the Israeli government hasn't offered a single solution."
One of the issues building and construction companies face is having progress bogged down by working against various government organizations simultaneously.
Shaul Lotan, CEO of The Meshulam Levinstein Group, said that "the coronavirus only made an existing problem worse - it did not invent a new issue. It pushed off the timelines of building plans – and the bureaucracy, as usual, made everything harder. We have moved to a time of uncertainty. 
"We want to build quickly, but then we get policy changes slapped on us," he lamented. "We need government policies like in the US, with one plan, and not to have to negotiate again and again with different government bodies."