Over 200,000 Israelis have filed for unemployment since the country went into its second coronavirus lockdown on the eve of the Jewish New Year on September 18, according to a report published on Sunday by the Israeli Employment Service.
Data shows that almost 187,000 of the 207,191 job seekers who have registered at the service since September 17 were forced on unpaid leave due to the prevalent economic crisis brought on by the government's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, more than 150,000 Israelis have filed for benefits at least once before during Israel's first closure. The latest figures put the total number of Israel's unemployed at 936,712 people, the service said, including almost 600,000 on unpaid leave.
In late March, the number of job seekers stood at 815,727, amounting to almost one-fifth of the country's workforce. Nine-in-ten of those registering for unemployment benefits in March were forced on unpaid leave, reports claimed at the time.
In April, at the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of unemployed broke records and climbed to over one million job seekers.
As Israel is working to curb the spread of the virus, Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Hezi Levi said Sunday there were signs that the new closure was indeed working.
The latest published Health Ministry figures revealed a decline in the national infection rate, which dropped to 11 percent on Saturday after hitting an alarming 15 percent several days prior.