A poor woman poverty impoverished homeless 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The country has reached its lowest poverty levels since 2003, but still has
significant problems in wealth disparity and impoverished children, according to
the 2010 Poverty Report released on Thursday.
Twenty percent of Israeli
families – some 1.7 million people – live in poverty. Among them are
873,000 children, about a third of the country’s youth, according to the
Editorial: Poverty in Israel
Lawmakers, social action NGOs to focus on job bills
While noting the “positive improvement in poverty indicators
for the year 2010,” Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon called the
poverty levels and wealth gaps “intolerable” and said they must
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz noted that the report shows
positive trends, such as a reduction in the “wealth gap.”
“I can inform
you that for the first time we are seeing the beginning of narrowing gaps, the
beginning of a poverty-reduction trend in all populations: the elderly,
children, and the two most disadvantaged groups, the haredim and the
Arabs. This is an important topic we are dealing with every day,”
Steinitz said during an address to the Calcalist’s annual pension savings
conference in Tel Aviv.
“The most important thing is to maintain economic
investment growth, which allows increases in employment, decreased in
unemployment and ultimately, a reduction in gaps,” he continued.
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also announced plans to present the cabinet in two weeks with a detailed
proposal on improving financial education in Israel.
Rachel Evenbaum, the
head of the Meir Panim organization, said the document did not reflect
“It’s as if the people who wrote this report weren’t in Israel
during 2010-11,” she said.
“The data doesn’t jive with the situation we
see in the field. For many months the number of people coming to receive food
products and hot meals in the soup kitchens that we operate has risen
significantly. In addition, the number of children who come to Meir Panim’s
after-school programs across the country has risen by 20 percent in the past two
years. It’s important to remember that these children were referred by the
welfare authorities in the various cities,” Evenbaum said.
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