Israel not doing enough to bridge income distribution gaps

According to OECD figures, Israel has one of the five most uneven rates of income distribution.

By NADAV SHEMER
July 7, 2011 23:30
1 minute read.
Picture from the Parasha

workers 311. (photo credit: Israel Weiss (weisssi@bezeqint.net) http://artfram)

 
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Israel has adopted some of the steps expected of it since joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last year, but still has not done enough to bridge income distribution gaps, according to a report published Thursday by two private nonprofit groups.

Israel’s Center for Political Economics and Germany’s Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung found that while there had been an increase in workforce participation since last year, most of the newly employed were to be found among lowerincome earners.

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To rescue some half a million people from below the poverty line, “a further investment of about NIS 8.7 billion to NIS 12.3 billion is needed [by the government],” Dr. Roby Nathanson, who headed the study, said in the report. Israel dedicated NIS 4.9b.-NIS 5.5b. toward achieving these aims in the second half of 2010 and first half of 2011, the study found.

The report said Israel must do more to pursue the measures recommended by the OECD: more efficient supervision of employers’ pension obligations; support for the integration of people with disabilities into the workplace; an increase in Arab representation in the public sector, including support for companies that promote the employment of minorities; creation of a framework for granting foreign workers permanent visas, as is the practice in Europe; and modification of prerequisites for receiving unemployment benefits.

According to OECD figures, Israel has one of the five most uneven rates of income distribution among the 34-nation bloc of developed economies. The rate of poverty in Israel stands at about 21.3 percent, compared with the OECD average of 10.6%.

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