Some 64,000 Israelis have been thrown out of work as a result of the economic crunch caused by the tide of Israeli-Palestinian violence that swept across the region five months ago, according to government statistics published Thursday, February 23.
The number of jobless rose 50 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, at the height of the Palestinian intifada or uprising, compared with the same period the year before, the labor and social affairs ministry said.
Israel's tourist industry was the hardest hit, with job losses three times higher than all other sectors. One in 10 workers in tourism related industries lost their jobs during the fourth quarter, the ministry said in a statement.
Overall, the intifada sent unemployment up by 0.4 percentage points to 8.9 percent of the workforce, it said.
Israel's economic growth also shrank by 9.8 percent on an annual basis in the final three months of 2000, the central statistics office said, following a record growth of 9.3 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) in the previous quarter. For the year as a whole however, economic growth was a strong six percent.
Tourism revenue dropped by 58 percent in the final quarter compared with the previous three-month period.
Israel has imposed a blockade on the West Bank and Gaza Strip the intifada was unleashed in late September, sending poverty and unemployment rates soaring in the Palestinian population.
The closure prevents some 125,000 Palestinians from working in Israel, mainly in construction and agriculture. — (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )