In the school year of 2011/2012, more than half of all 17-year-olds were not
eligible to receive a bagrut (matriculation) certificate.
This was the
finding of the annual statistical report that the National Council for the Child
released on Sunday.
The bagrut eligibility figure stood at 49.8 percent,
up from 48.1% in 2010/2011 but still outnumbered by those who were ineligible.
Meanwhile, 55% of teachers of all grades said they didn’t know whether their
students prepared homework or not.
Additionally, according to the report,
the number of children studying within the state educational system went down
from 74.2% to 52.2%, though there was a marked increase in students enrolled in
the state-religious and ultra-Orthodox educational system (from 25.8% to
The report, comprised of statistics from the Central Bureau of
Statistics, government ministries and nonprofit organizations, presented a
picture of the state of the child in Israel considering many factors, including
education, health, poverty, abuse and criminal activity.
According to the
findings of the report, by the end of 2012 there were 2,626,400 children living
in Israel, comprising 32.9% of the population.
Between 1970 and 2012 the
number of children in Israel nearly doubled, while the number of Muslim children
more than tripled.
The report showed that in 2012, 33.7% of all children
– meaning more than one out of every three – were living in poverty, a total of
In the past decade or so there was a dramatic increase
of over 60% in the number of children living below the poverty line.
results also showed that in 2012, only 5.3% of poor children were able to escape
poverty, compared to 10.5% in 2000 – this can be attributed to government
cutbacks in transfer payments and tax policies that reduce
Poverty was more common among Arab children than Jews in 2012,
with 67.9% of Arab children living below the poverty line, compared to 22.9% of
Jewish children and 26.1% of children of Jewish immigrants to
Large gaps were also reported in the geographic dispersal of
poverty in Israel, with the Jerusalem district and the North reporting 59.4% and
49.4% (respectively) of children living in poverty, while Tel Aviv reported
23.7% and the Center district reported 15.9%.
In comparison to the
national average of 35.6%, Netanya (73.2%), Bnei Brak (62.9%) and Jerusalem
(61.7%) had the highest percentages of children living below the poverty line,
while Rishon Lezion and Tel Aviv had the lowest, with 9.2% and 12.4%
During the 2012/2013 school year, 2,187,296 children were
enrolled in the education system, including 1,565,434 (71.9%) in the Jewish
sector and 610,410 (27.9%) in the Arab sector.
In the previous school
year, there had been a marked decrease across the board in students reporting
drinking alcohol, using drugs or bringing weapons to school.
percentage of students who drank beer, a Breezer or Smirnoff Ice once in their
life decreased from 34% of 7-9th graders in the 2008/09 school year to 24% in
2011/12; and from 59% of 10-11th graders to 52%.
percentage of students who tried marijuana decreased from 4% among 7-9th graders
in 2008/09 to 2% among the same grades in 2011/12; and 7% of 10-11th graders to
Between the 2008/09 and 2010/11 school years there was a decrease in
the percentage of students who suffered some form of violence – whether verbal,
physical, or digital. Only 32% of students said they would report a case of
violence to one of their teachers – 23% in the Jewish sector and 58% in the Arab
Eight percent of students in grades 7-9 reported in 2012/2013
that they were victims of violence from a teacher or staff at school.
percentage of Arab students who reported such incidents were 2 or 3 times higher
than those of Jewish students.
This divide applied also to violence in
general, as 67.7% of Arab children reported they were the victim of some form of
violence, compared to 48.5%, or nearly half, of Jewish children.
addition, 17.6% of children reported they had been sexually abused – with nearly
half of these children, 46.5%, reporting that they had been assaulted more than
In 83.1% of the cases, the assaulter was male, and in 75.3% of the
cases the children reported they knew the assaulter.
Of the 14.1% of
children who reported that they were physically abused, 78.5% of the abusers
were family members.
Children sexually abused who are known to have
reported the assault to some authority figure stand at 68.2%, while 63.5% of
physically abused children reported the assault.
Between 2008 and 2012
there was a 57.6% rise in the number of court cases involving youth, from 8,994
to 14,171, of which 11,436 were criminal cases.
However, when compared to
2000 there was an overall reported decrease of 30.7% in the number of youth
involved in criminal court cases.
Since 1998, the number of court cases
where a youth was the victim increased by 31.3% from 6,370 cases in 1998 to
8,361 cases in 2012, with 71% of the cases occurring outside the family, and 29%
of the cases brought against someone within the child’s family.
report showed a decrease in the number of child fatalities in car accidents in
2012, from 2,939 child fatalities aged 0-14 in 2011 to 2,657 in 2012 – a 10%
Of the 574 children injured crossing the street, 61% were
crossing on cross walks.
Over the course of the past 20 years, there was
a 69.7% decrease in the number of drivers under 18 that were involved in a car
accident, from 2,535 in 1992 to 769 in 2012, the majority were
However, the number of police citations (including court summons)
for 17 year olds driving under the influence increased from 1,572 in 2006 to
4,834 in 2011.
The report showed that 83.9% of children ages 7 to 11,
83.3% aged 12 to 14, and 97.1% of children ages 15-17 surf the web, and roughly
half of all children aged 12 to 17 reported that they spend between 3 to 5 hours
surfing the web every day or almost every day.
Nearly 90% of youth said
they spend time on social networks and more than 80% of children aged 13 to 18
said they have a Facebook account.
Thirty-four percent of children said
they are friends with their parents on Facebook, and 27% said they and their
teachers are Facebook friends.
The findings also indicated that 27.3% of
children in grades 1-9 are overweight. Furthermore, there was a drastic decrease
over the past decade in the percentage of junior-high students who eat fruits
and vegetables on a daily basis, from 85% in 1998 to 42.9% in
According to the report, the older the age group, the less time
children spend engaged in physical activities.
Dr. Yitzhak Kadman,
executive director of The National Council for the Child, presented the report
to President Shimon Peres, who declared that the neglect of children is the
worst possible sin.
“We can’t keep on making this mistake.We have
to give children the kind of future to which they are entitled,” Peres said
after hearing Kadman recite some of the shocking statistics contained in the
In presenting the report, Kadman reminded Peres that when
receiving the report last year, the president had asked him to come back with a
more favorable report this year.
“We tried, but we didn’t succeed,
although there are a few points of light,” he said, noting some positive trends,
including a decrease in infant mortality and the increase in bagrut
Because education is not free, he said, parents who want
their children to succeed pay for private tutors or for extracurricular
The children of parents who do not have the wherewithal to pay
for these educational extras too often lag behind.
Even youth movements
that used to free have become a costly investment to parents who want their
children to have community oriented values, Kadman said.
He also implied
that Israeli schools were unpleasant experiences for the youngsters enrolled in
them. “Israeli children more than those of any other country within the orbit of
the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) dislike
school,” he said.
Noam Ben-Harush, a youth leader and 10th grade student
at the Reut School in Jerusalem said that after reading the report, she was
shocked to discover the number of children who had been sexually
She charged adults with making insufficient use of people in
youth groups who could talk to their peer generation, warn them of what to be
aware of and help them at times of distress when they had been assaulted or
simply when they felt that there had been no response to their
“They’ll open up to us more than to adults. It’s much easier for
them to talk to people around their own age,” she said.
that there is confusion between leisure time and entertainment.
time can also be used for work or study, he said, and suggested that both be
combined so that high school students could spend two hours a day working for a