March 8, 2020 / 11:02 AM / 21 days ago

Israel to set up $1 billion fund to help companies through coronavirus crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 8, 2020. Oded Balilty/Pool via Reuters

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday his government would establish a 4 billion shekel ($1.2 billion) fund to help Israeli companies impacted by the global coronavirus outbreak.

Netanyahu said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon had drawn up plans for the fund and would present them at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. No further details were immediately available.

Also on Sunday, El Al Israel Airlines (ELAL.TA) said it expects an even bigger decline in revenue for the start of the year than previously thought due to the coronavirus. The airline has requested government aid.

Israel’s central bank said last week the coronavirus outbreak has not had a major impact on the economy, but if conditions worsen significantly, it is prepared to use monetary policies accordingly.

Reporting by Tova Cohen, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch

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