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Close to 2 Million Israelis Living Under Poverty Line

A new report shows that 444,000 Israelis are still classified as impoverished, while a third of Israeli children still live under the poverty line

By: Zak Edwards
Published: December 17th, 2013 in News » Israel
Israeli man asks for food on the street

Israel’s annual poverty report for 2012 has been released and, while improvements have been made, some demographics have experienced a decline.

In particular, Israeli senior citizens have experienced a rise in poverty rates to 23%, or 180,000 people. And while the numbers have dropped, over 33% of Israeli children are still living under the poverty line, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The report, by the Bituach Le'umi National Insurance Institute and the Central Bureau of Statistics, reported an overall half percent drop in the poverty rate for the entire country, meaning 440,000 homes are still dealing with poverty.

Even more disconcerting: dual income families who are still considered impoverished is one statistic that continues to rise.

The leader of the Labour Party, Itzik Shmuli, attacked the government in light of the report. “[Finance minister Yair] Lapid scolds the poor to go and work but the statistics show that not only a majority of the poor are working people, but 25% of poor children go out and work,” Shmuli said.

“The government must set social targets in legislation to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, we have had enough of empty declarations of importance to the government, when all the government does is tell people to go to work,” he added.

But according to the Israeli National News, the statistics themselves are the problem. In Israel, the poverty line is defined as “half of the median disposable income weighted by household size [and]... fails to take savings or debt into account, and fails to distinguish between temporary income shortage and long-term poverty.”

Related articles: Unemployment, Poverty Line, Israel News, Central Bureau of Statistics
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