Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef 311.
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Israel must set a clear social security policy to narrow, within the decade, the worrying gap between its high
poverty rate and OECD countries’ average rate of 12 percent of the population
living below the poverty line, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, CEO of the
National Insurance Institute, said yesterday.
“We are producing a
generation of poor people,” he said. “The State of Israel has imposed a penalty
on haredim and told them: ‘You will just study and you can’t work,’ so they sit
and study while we lose manpower.”
Mor-Yosef highlighted the low
employment rate among haredi men and Arab women, and called for the government
to assist those populations to enter the job market. Israel has the highest
poverty level among OECD countries, and the gaps between rich and poor are among
the highest of all developed nations, problems, he said, that must be addressed
Mor-Yosef also questioned the feasibility of a
much-discussed initiative to cancel NII child and elderly allotments for the
wealthy, explaining that it wouldn’t save any significant amount of
Gidi Kroch, executive director of the NGO Leket, a food bank that
distributes would-be discarded food to Israelis in need, concurred, saying the
government must prioritize the issue of poverty.
“Israel has had a lack
of socioeconomic planning for many years,” Kroch told The Jerusalem Post on
“The latest protest movements and the change in the political
map both clearly point to this.
“Israel will have no security without
social security for its citizens,” he continued.
Kroch stressed that
today, the country faces a window of opportunity to make a significant change in
the social arena: “I hope politicians do not miss it because of other
interests,” he told the Post.
“Collecting direct taxes is a problem in
the country when there are entire communities who don’t work,” Kroch pointed
out. “There is a need to find the right way of financing the activities of the
government and most important, investing in the right places.
that while cutting allotments is a commonly proposed solution, he doesn’t
believe that it is the correct step to take. The government must do “more
long-term thinking and stop putting out fires,” Kroch said.