The social situation in Israel is no less worrying than security challenges, and requires a response, President Shimon Peres said Thursday at the quinquennial Histadrut labor federation convention.

"We sometime feel as though we have fallen into a poverty trap," said Peres. "This country is rich, but there are many poor people in it, and it is impermissible that in such a prosperous country so many people will suffer from poverty."

"This is a phenomenon that should weigh on the conscience of every decent person in Israel and we must not allow poverty to be passed down the generations," Peres continued.

The president stressed that the first step required was to generate wealth via occupational cooperation between all sectors of society, including the secular, Haredi and Arab sectors.

"We have no right to punish Israel's children with continuing poverty," he asserted.

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