Homeless man 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The draft 2013-14 state budget will put added strain on agencies caring for the
poor, Gidi Kroch, the CEO of Leket Israel, which distributes rescued food to
Israelis in need, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“There is nothing
surprising” about the OECD data released on Wednesday placing Israel at the top
of the poverty scale in developed countries, Kroch said.
percent of Israelis lived in poverty in 2011, compared to an average of 11.1%
among the rest of the OECD member states.
In addition, Israel ranked
fifth in regards to income gaps after Chile, Mexico, Turkey and the United
“We know there are a lot of poor in Israel,” he said. “The
problem is when you combine this with the current draft budget, which just
offers no solution to the issue. Gaps increased and apparently will continue to
The budget cuts will have a direct impact on the expenses of NGOs
nationwide, Kroch said.
“NGOs doing food distribution will simply
collapse when there is no financial support from the government and they are
expected to fulfill the state’s role in taking care of these people,” he said.
“There are NGOs today that have trucks which they can’t use because they have no
money to do so.”
Leket, which acts as a food bank and is assisting some
140,000 people in need across the country, had already seen many middle class
citizens fall into poverty in the past year, Kroch said.
“When the middle
class is hurt, they will also donate less to NGOs,” he said.
expected to participate in the first meeting of the Lobby for Nutritional
Security in Israel, headed by Labor MK Isaac Herzog, at the Knesset on Monday,
in which NGOs will present solutions in the field to members of the lobby, as
well as representatives of the Finance Ministry.
“There is a lot of food
thrown away and destroyed in Israel, in catering, hotels and restaurants,” Kroch
said. “If we can save that food, that is a solution.”