A new report released by the National Insurance Institute indicates that more than 1.8 million Israelis lived in poverty in 2016, which amounted to about 22 percent of the nation’s population.
The report, released in December 2017, was based on data gathered by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Included in the more than 1.8 million Israelis were about 463,300 families and 842,300 children who were living below the poverty line.
This 22 percent poverty rate represented a slight increase from the 21.7 percent figure in 2015, but the number of families living in poverty decreased to 18.6 percent in 2016 from 19.1 percent in 2015. The child poverty rating, however, saw the largest increase, going from 30 percent in 2015 to 31.2 percent in 2016.
On the bright side, the standard of living in Israel did increase by 3.8 percent in 2016, and the poverty line rose as well. Individuals earning less than NIS 3,260 and couples earning less than NIS 5,216 per month are considered to be below the poverty line. A family of five is below the poverty line if it earns less than NIS 9,779 per month.
Still, these ratings represent the highest poverty ratings in the developed world, a fact that is of great concern to Israeli leadership. Of particular concern is the fact that the report reveals finding employment and earning a salary still tends to not remove people from the cycle of poverty in Israel.
The Minister of Labor and Social Sciences, Haim Katz, was quoted as saying, “The government is investing many resources to remove families from the cycle of poverty, and it seems the main problem is the allocation of these resources. If we don’t act now to strengthen the resilience of the elderly citizen and to raise disability allotments in an egalitarian manner, we will continue to lag behind, and poverty rates in Israeli society will only worsen.”
These reports provide us at Curt Landry Ministries with even more reason to continue focusing on our humanitarian aid initiatives throughout Israel. We will continue to support Israel soldiers, give gifts to Israeli hospitals, and perform work at Israeli schools and safe houses.