Israel may be the safest country in the world in the face of the coronavirus pandemic but unfortunately, it is not the richest country in the world. Although thousands of Israelis are suffering severely from losing their parnassah in the wake of coronavirus restrictions, the Israeli government can’t afford to provide much of a bailout.
Yuval Karmi, the owner of a felafel store in Ashdod, lost his parnassah in the wake of the coronavirus restrictions implemented in Israel weeks ago. On Sunday, after the Knesset approved an easing of the regulations to open up the economy, some stores were allowed to open and Karmi hoped he could open his felafel store but the police prevented him from doing so.
In an interview with Channel 13 News, Karmi couldn’t hold back his tears as he explained that he’s not interested in donations but only wants the government to help him to recover.
“Look at my wallet, it’s empty,” Karmi said. “I don’t have a shekel in my pocket. “I’m embarrassed, from my children, to tell them I have nothing I can buy for you. I have nothing to give them. I have nothing to give them to eat. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”
The news reporter was so moved by Karmi’s plight that she burst into tears and left the felafel store in middle of filming.
“I have a family at home,” Karmi continued tearfully. “I don’t know what to do. Today I said I’ll open the store but then the police came and told me I can’t.”
Karmi said that he pays NIS 12,000 a month in rent but he now has no money to pay his rent or his suppliers. When he tried to order from his suppliers after Pesach, they refused to take his order. “I have a family, I have children at home, I don’t know what to do,” he repeated.
Karmi elaborated that he’s made an honorable living his entire life and never even had a check bounce but now he’s in debt to the tune of NIS 65,000 due to having to close his store.
MK Ayelet Shaked responded to the clip by saying: “Karmi wants to earn a living with kavod, not receive donations. The government needs to allow people to do deliveries, to open barber shops and clothing stores in accordance with Health Ministry regulations. This will allow tens of thousands of people to earn their parnassah and restore their kavod.”
“The Finance Minister should wake up before it’s too late,” MK Nir Barkat (Likud) responded. “The cry of Yuval, the owner of Karmi Felafel in Ashdod, is heartbreaking: ‘I provide food for my children with these hands. How long can I continue like this?’ The only solution is with direct and immediate assistance and through providing “breathing grants” to the bank accounts of the self-employed and business owners who need it.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)