Report finds increasing income gap

Adva Center's annual report finds top 10% controls larger proportion of wealth.

Since 1990, the socioeconomic gap in Israel has widened and Israelis have not seriously benefited from the nation's substantial economic growth, a report released by the Adva Center on Tuesday morning indicated. Presenting what they deemed a vastly different picture than some politicians, the center said that the economic growth Israel has experienced since 1990 has in no way provided any assurances that the financial woes most Israeli experience would be relieved. The report determined that a wage earner in the top financial 10% of the nation in 2004 earned over twelve times that of someone in the lowest 10%. The report also said that compared with figures from 1990, the top 10% now controls a larger proportion of the nation's wealth. The wages of executives in Tel Aviv top 40 (TA 40) firms stood out in particular during wage comparisons. Their salaries were on average 43 times higher than the minimum wage and 19 times higher than the average wage. The center asserted that the richest 20% of Israel's population earned 44% of all annual income in 2004, also a substantial increase compared with 1990 figures. In a further demonstration that the economic surge since 1990 was not evenly dispersed throughout the country, the study noted that the more widespread industries of textile and food suffered since 1990, experiencing only 4% growth, while the high-tech industry sector experienced 100% growth. The study pointed to a sizeable difference in wages between Jews and Arab Israelis, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews and the sexes. Jews on average earned 25% more than Arabs, and Ashkenazi Jews earned 36% more than Sephardic Jews. Women earned only 63% of the average male salary, but the figure marked a considerable decrease in the gap between the sexes. In 1990, women earned 57% of the average male salary. The Adva Center did not base its report on original polls, but relied upon statistical information from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Bank of Israel.