The government approved on Monday a financial rescue plan for Israel's coronavirus-battered economy.
The plan, presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz last Thursday, includes expanding the number of people eligible for unemployment benefits, adaptation grants for people aged 67 and over, assistance to self-employed workers and businesses, and a number of tax breaks.
The plan includes a social safety net for waged and self-employed workers and a financial safety net for businesses until June 2021 in order to guarantee economic certainty for the coming year. The government would also provide training for individuals making a career change to "coronavirus-era professions".
Netanyahu also promised that grants of up to NIS 7,500 ($2,250) will be transferred to self-employed workers and business owners in the coming days.
The veteran prime minister also said that he and his government will devise additional financial and health plans in the coming weeks and that Israel's powerful economy allowed the country to take loans with low-interest rates.
Ministers had also approved a draft bill to expand the budget framework for the years 2020-2021 by NIS 24 billion for the expansion and implementation of the plan.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid criticized Netanyahu after the plan's presentation, denouncing the premier's statements as "hollow words."
"Netanyahu's comments on the economy are hollow words and will not stand the test of time," Lapid said. "Most of the public is still waiting for their two previous payments. Let us hope that this time will be different."