Report finds major inequality in wages, education, health in Israel

According to the findings, over the past 2-3 years there has been a rise in wages, however the disparities remain significant.

January 15, 2017 16:01
3 minute read.
Israel education

Getting a hands-on education in science. (photo credit: ACHIYA CENTER)


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Socioeconomic gaps in Israel continue to grow even as salaries rise, with CEOs pulling in a whopping 44 times that of the average Israeli, according to the Adva Center – Information on Equality and Social Justice in Israel.

“Equality and social justice are not a top priority of the Israeli government, which relies on economic growth to improve the quality of life of all Israelis. Yet, the fruits of the economic growth ‘trickle upward’ more than down,” said Shlomo Swirski and Etty Konor-Atias, authors of the organization’s annual report released Sunday.

“The problem is rooted in the fact that Israeli governments reduced their capacity for action and primarily their budgetary capacities,” Swirski said. “The result is the shrinking and narrowing of the social services the state provides: education, health, welfare and social security.”

“Israeli governments are concerned primarily with political and security problems, mainly the Palestinian conflict, expressed in frequent outbursts of violence,” he said. “Israeli governments do not invest in the development of long-term plans to increase success rates in the matriculation exams, to enlarge the student population or to include the entire Israeli population in the ‘start-up nation.’” According to the findings, over the past two to three years there has been a rise in wages, but the disparities remain significant.

In 2015, gross monthly income of a household headed by a salaried employee was NIS 4,644 in the lowest decile and NIS 52,294 in the top decile.

The top two deciles were responsible for some 43.9% of total household income, while the other eight deciles combined shared the remaining 56.1%.

The report further noted that there are gaps between the top decile and the uppermost 1%.

The data cited the salaries of senior executives in 2015 and found that the average pay of CEOs in the top 100 corporations traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange cost their firms NIS 5.1 million annually, or NIS 425,000 per month.

As such, the average pay of CEOs was 44 times the average wage of Israeli employees, which stands at NIS 9,592, and 91 times the minimum wage, which stands at NIS 4,650.

Pay inequality also exists between gender and the different sectors of society, according to the report.

Women are over represented in the lowest echelons of wages with 30.9% earning less than the minimum wage in 2014 compared to just 16.8% of men.

Furthermore, the findings indicated that native Israelis of Ashkenazi origin earned some 31% more than the average wage, while native Israelis of Mizrahi origin earned only 14% more than the average.

Native Israelis from the Former Soviet Union earned roughly 1% more than the average, while Arab employees earned two-thirds the average, and immigrants from Ethiopia and native Israelis of Ethiopian origin earned just half the average wage.

Inequality is also found in the education system, the report found, with twice as many students present in localities of high socioeconomic means compared with the periphery.

In 2015, just 29.3% of young adults who were 17 years old in 2007 had begun studying in an institute of higher education, with twice as many being Jewish compared to Arab, the report stated.

In the 2014-15 academic year, 14% of 20-29 year olds were enrolled in universities and academic colleges. Some 21.5% hailed from strong localities compared to 12.6% from Jewish development towns and 9.1% from Arab localities.

With regards to health, the report found that Jews live three more years on average than their Arab counterparts.

In 2014, the average life expectancy of Israeli men was 80.3 years (6th in the OECD), while the average life expectancy for women was 84.1.

However, when comparing different sectors, the findings indicated that life expectancy for Jewish men stood at 80.9 years versus just 76.9 for Arab men. Similarly, for Jewish women the life expectancy was 84.5, compared with 81.1 for Arab women.

Furthermore, the report found that the infant-mortality rate in Israel in 2014 stood at 3.1, 15th among OECD countries.

However, the rate of infant mortality among Arab-Israelis is 2.6 times that of Jews, standing at 6.4.

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