This article was first published by The Times of Israel and is re-posted with permission.
The outbreak of the coronavirus and the lockdowns it has led to, along with the recession that will apparently follow, have spurred a lively discussion in Israel about whether the nation’s thriving startup ecosystem should also be in line to get government investments, in the form of grants or government guaranteed loans.
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Some, like the former head of Israel’s National Economic Council, believe that government assistance is needed to help startups survive the crisis. Others, including prominent VC fund heads, say Israel should let capitalism do what it does best and let market forces to determine which startups survive without resorting to “socialist” assistance.
Israel had 16,314 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 238 deaths from the coronavirus as of midday May 6. With the economy at a near-halt, jobless figures spiked to 1,093,000 by mid-April, bringing the unemployment rate to an unprecedented 26 percent from below four percent pre-coronavirus.
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