Watch a live broadcast of the discussion in the Economics Committee:
One of the proposals on the Finance Committee’s table would oblige the hall owners to return the advances to the approximately 2,500 young couples who had to cancel their wedding at the last minute due to the spread of the corona virus, a condition they could not assess when they scheduled their wedding months. According to the outline, 30% of the total compensation to the owners of the halls will be conditional on the return of the advances, in a total amount of NIS 12 million, and on the cancellation of pending lawsuits of the owners of the halls against the young couples.
Finance Ministry spokesman Asi Messing argued that this was a problematic outline, and could not be enforced. “The wording is much broader than it was discussed,” Messing said. Advance payments. These are huge amounts of people. The Authority does not have the capacity to do so. This is a very distorted mechanism, this is not the way to regulate it. If the Knesset and the government want to regulate it, there are many aspects. This may significantly delay the payment of grants. They may be paid in many years. ”
A representative of the Ministry of Justice also warned that the proposal “raises difficulties”. “We are making a categorical intervention without addressing the subtleties between contracts. This proposal gives power to one side of the contract in a way that can veto a very significant portion of the grant. The hall owner has multiple contractual engagements. This proposal raises difficulties in contract law.”
At the same time, the committee’s legal adviser, Sagit Afek, rejected this position. “I do not understand the statement that it will delay payments for years. It is only necessary for the couples to declare that they have reached agreements. In my opinion the authority should not manage this, but only keep those 30% aside,” she said.
The chairman of the Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni (Torah Judaism), opposed the transfer of the issue in private legislation, outside the framework of the government’s economic plan. “We give grants to owners of halls that have been damaged, and they have been badly damaged, the law is true, but in reality we have said that there are more who have been injured. “We are helping you. If she agreed to pass it in private law, nothing would come of it.” However, the finance minister’s chief of staff, Tamir Cohen, said that this was indeed the plan. He said that in accordance with the agreement between the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance, it was agreed that MK Hila Shai and Zan (blue and white) would promote an expedited bill on the subject.
During the discussion, the chairman of the coalition, MK Miki Zohar (Likud), called for an increase in the compensation ceiling for hall owners to NIS 350,000, but backed the government’s outline on the issue. “The owners of the halls say they will open their halls because the government does not intend to help. I think that is not the case, the prime minister and the finance minister brought an excellent plan to the committee, I proposed to make a small amendment to make it almost perfect. I very much hope. And the prime minister will make the decision to add compensation to businesses with a turnover of over NIS 20 million. “According to him,” business owners should be given extra because it is time to do good with the public and not make it difficult for them. ”
“The government and the Knesset will eliminate the celebration industry in Israel”
The Association of Hall and Event Garden Owners sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning, announcing that the halls and event gardens intend to return to activity starting on Wednesday, August 5, and to hold events as approved for parks and local authorities.
The letter was sent against the background of the expected vote in the Knesset’s Finance Committee, where an outline of economic compensation will be raised which, according to the owners of the ballrooms, “completely ignores the distress of the events industry and will lead to its final collapse after five months of inactivity.”
The owners of the halls have announced their intention to return to activity, and allow the young couples to get married, while demanding the Prime Minister’s intervention to resolve the crisis. “We have a few hours before the government and the Knesset decide our fate and eliminate Israel’s branch of joy,” the letter said. “We depend on you, Mr. Prime Minister, and we need your immediate help. We will not abandon one hundred thousand families who have lost their livelihoods, and we will not abandon the young couples. We will live up to our commitment as imposed on us.”
The Finance Committee yesterday discussed the outline of compensation for business owners, and discussed the issue of young couples waiting for repayments from hall owners, in light of the cancellation of events. Among other things, it was proposed to condition some of the assistance to the hall owners on the return of the advances.
Another call came up in the discussion from the owners of the ballrooms, whose activities were almost completely stopped. They demanded an increase in the fixed expense reimbursement clause by 60% on the grounds that the maximum amount does not cover their significantly higher expenses than the rest of the business.
In the first discussion, it was agreed to add to the bill businesses with a turnover of up to NIS 400 million, entitled to reimbursement of fixed expenses, as part of the section anchoring compensation for businesses that suffered more than 40% of their monthly turnover, for participation in fixed expenses. At the same time, the Treasury is still opposed to the introduction of a clause according to which assistance will be provided to businesses that have been affected with a turnover of more than NIS 400 million.
(First update: 08:17)