Poverty in J'lem 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The NGO Latet, which combats poverty and food insecurity in Israel, expressed
its concern over figures revealed in the National Insurance Institute’s Poverty
Report that showed the country is lagging behind other OECD nations in this
“The current government and its predecessors have failed in
combating poverty and abandoned it. Indeed, despite the fact that more than 1.8
million Israelis and more than 860,000 children live in poverty, there is still
no government program designed to address the issue,” Eran Weintraub, executive
director of Latet, said in a statement.
According to the report, which
was released last week, 442,200 families in Israel lived below the poverty line
in the year 2011, which is equivalent to almost two million people. Out of the
two million, 860,900 are children. The numbers remained almost unchanged since
The data also showed that poverty among working families continued
to rise in 2011 compared to 2010, despite improvements observed in the job
market during the same year.
The figures also exposed an increase of
almost three percent in poverty among families with two or more earners, who for
many years, were considered immune to poverty.
“This report focuses on
the year 2011, but the situation in Israel in 2012 is even worse, since this
year was characterized by harsh economic measures, and dramatic increases in the
prices of food, electricity, water and other basic needs, along with an
additional 1% income tax and an additional 1% VAT,” Weintraub
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of the National Insurance
Institute said that the stability of the poverty line observed between 2010 and
2011 is “not an achievement.”
“Israel should aspire to a significant
improvement in poverty and inequality in order to get closer to the average of
the OECD countries. To do this, it must use all policy instruments: investment
in education, training on the job market, encouraging people to work, creating
good working conditions as well as adequate wages,” he added.