Business owners report fifty percent drop in revenue; City councilwoman turns to Netanyahu to request immediate assistance.

The series of attacks in Jerusalem have badly hurt businesses in the city center, and owners have now asked the state to help them through the crisis.

Business owners argued that given the unrelenting violence, most consumers prefer to go to malls, which are enclosed and have security checking every person entering. As a result, the business center of the city is on the brink of collapse.

When businesses surrounding Gaza and southern Israel were economically hurt during Operation Protective Edge, the government allocated a special budget to support them. However, business owners in Jerusalem are afraid that they will not receive any assistance.

Empty street in Jerusalem's Nachalat Shiva (Photo: Amit Shaabi)
Empty street in Jerusalem’s Nachalat Shiva (Photo: Amit Shaabi)


Traditionally, businesses see a decline in revenue after the holiday season. But last week business owners reported a 50 percent drop in daily revenue, far greater than usual. Alon Shabtai, the owner of three restaurants, believes the significant loss of revenue is because of cancellation of events that were to take place at his eateries.

“No one is going to the Western Wall to get called up to the Torah at during this period, and large companies prefer holding events for their employees in Tel Aviv,” said Shabtai. “Every year or two there is a difficult period and businesses suffer. By the time we have managed to raise our heads, there’s another attack.

“No one recognizes that we are suffering due to the security situation and that we should be compensated,” said Shabtai. “I employ 200 workers, if I fall, 200 families fall.”

Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (Photo: Eli Mandlebaum)
Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem (Photo: Eli Mandlebaum)


Mahane Yehuda Market is one of the places where you can feel the pulse of Jerusalem. In recent years it has undergone a culinary revolution, with dozens of restaurants and bars opening along its alleyways, and it has became a place where the youth of the city go out to at night.

But lately customers are staying away, preferring to buy in supermarkets with a security guard at the entrance.

“Surprisingly, domestic tourism have stopped coming, as opposed to foreign tourists,” said Dorit Grazer, the owner of the Shem Tov pub. “Perhaps because every small incident becomes a media sensation, but is not reported overseas. It’s a shame, as Jerusalem has many different aspects and neighborhoods. It’s true that in East Jerusalem there are riots, but there is also Ein Kerem and Nachlaot and many other quiet places. We should be less hysterical.”

City Councilwoman Einav Bar, in charge of small businesses, turned on the weekend to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a request for immediate assistance for businesses. “I am aware of the many efforts made to make Jerusalem safe and secure, but business owners are also going through a difficult period and they are important for the city’s strength,” said Bar.

The Jerusalem Municipality said regarding the concerns: “Since the beginning of the wave of terror, the Jerusalem Development Association has been promoting tourism in Jerusalem. At this stage it is too early to say that there has been a drop in or damage to tourism as the incidents started a couple of days ago and we are studying the situation.

“In addition, this week the city of Jerusalem is hosting the International Space Conference to which senior NASA officials have come, as well as approximately 3,000 tourists from 70 countries who will stay in Jerusalem for a week and will contribute greatly to the economy,” said the municipality.

“The fact that the event is proceeding as scheduled is proof that tourism in Jerusalem has and will continue in both times of crisis and routine. The municipality is continuing the city’s cultural events and has not canceled a single event. Just on Saturday, night tens of thousands attended city events such as those of artists Matisyahu and Idan Raichel at Sultan’s Pool, attended by 7,000 people, while 30,000 attended Teddy Stadium to watch Israel’s soccer team. The continuation of routine is a small contribution that each of us can make to counter the war on terror.”

As reported by Ynetnews