Israel’s Small Businesses Cope With Corona

Israel Today speaks to small business owners about how they are surviving the coronavirus lockdown

By Esti Eliraz | | Topics: ECONOMY, Small Business
Israel small business amid the coronavirus crisis.
Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Flowers or bust

“Ziv Hayogev Flowers” was a thriving flower business that was established more than 44 years ago by the Ziv family. Located on Moshav Hayogev in the Jezreel Valley, the family-run business employs about 20 employees and markets roses and chrysanthemums throughout the country. They produce flowers all year long in greenhouses, but March is always the busiest month with International Women’s Day, Passover, and Easter. During this month about 20,000 flowers are sold every day. This year, there was no business Ariel Ziv, son of the founder told Israel Today that they are facing a complete collapse.

Instead of giving in and throwing away thousands of flowers every day, the family decided to give them away free of charge to residents of the moshav, to the elderly, to Magen David Adom Israel’s emergency services and doctors and nurses at regional hospitals.

As a result, people began calling them to order flowers which they are now shipping anywhere at a wholesale price.


Family food

Hemed Goldberg Shafiite runs a catering business in Jerusalem. Passover is usually a busy week of the year for her “boutique cuisine” Shafiite told Israel Today. The Corona crisis brought an abrupt halt to everything as her world was turned upside down in a day. All pre-orders and events were canceled within days and she found her business shuttered.

When the Corona virus crisis began, Shafiite realized that she needed to find a way to serve her clientele. She started online cooking classes and, “With my 7 children in their 4 different houses in three cities and two different countries, together we cooked an excellent casserole,” Shafiite told us.


A friend indeed

Chavruta” or “Friendship” is the charming name of a book shop in the old Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Israel Today spoke with the store owner Nissim Needham who explained that the holiday season is always the busiest for his shop which specializes in Judaica and Judaism. “In my shop you can find everything related to Jews and Judaism under one roof,” Needham explained.

Corona changed everything just before the holiday as people were told to stay inside. He had to close his shop during the busiest week as everyone was getting ready for the Passover and put his workers on unpaid leave.

“So many young couples and families who have been accustomed to having a Passover Seder at their parents or grandparents suddenly discovered that they have nothing ready for the ceremony,” he said. “No Passover plate, no Haggadah, nothing and no place to go.”

Needham said that it is very important for him to help people enjoy the festival so he visited friends and neighbors in his community and delivered some of the essential Passover ware to their front doors.


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