War Costs Northern Businesses NIS 5.9 Billion

The trade and service industries lost some NIS 5.9 billion in proceeds during the war, equivalent to 1 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FCC).

According to FCC economist Yisraeli Meni, the calculation is based on a survey that revealed an average drop of 60 percent in income among businesses in Haifa and the North, in both the trade and services fields.

"Some businesses in Haifa and the North lost all their revenue because they were closed to the public practically from day one of the war, primarily restaurants, stores and movie theaters," she said. "In contrast, some places lost less than 60 percent of business, such as retail food chains, local grocers and supermarkets."

Meni added that the NIS 5.9 billion figure does not include order cancellations from abroad, which will take longer to calculate.

FCC President Uriel Lynn said yesterday the federation avoided revealing such data during the war, waiting instead for a cease-fire, "to prevent undercutting public morale."

Lynn announced the FCC asked the state to give the rehabilitation work to companies based primarily in the North.

The FCC's Tel Aviv presidium decided yesterday to help out Kiryat Shmona residents by establishing a special NIS 250,000 fund. which will distriubte Supersol chain gift certificates to disadvantaged households.