Poverty in Israel is deepening and poor people are finding it increasingly difficult to escape the poverty cycle, according to the Alternative Poverty report published annually by Latet.
According to the findings, there are some 2,546,000 million poor people living in Israel accounting for 31.6% of the population, including, 1,613,000 adults, 29.8%, and 932,000 children, representing 35.1% of the population.
These figures reveal a distinctly different picture than last week’s National Insurance Institute report which found that poverty rates in Israel were in decline. According to the NII report, in 2013 there were only 1,658,200 million people living in poverty, among them 756,900 children and 432,600 families – a decline from 23.5% in 2012 to 21.8% in 2013.
The poverty survey has been administered by Latet annually for ten years, and presents a more insightful picture than the National Insurance Institute’s annual survey – as it takes a closer look at the daily struggles of the poor in Israel.
Latet executive director Eran Weintraub and Gilles Darmon, chairman of Latet said in a statement released Monday, “The upcoming elections are an opportunity, perhaps the last, to decide whether we will buy more tanks or rescue children from a life of poverty, are we concerned for the future of Israeli society or just on maintaining the country’s borders.”
Some of the report’s most disturbing facts were in regard to children in needy families.
The report indicated that one out of every three children in Israel in 2014 is poor. Furthermore, according to the findings a fourth of children in Israel went to sleep hungry at least a few times per month, while 65% of children do not receive a hot meal at school.
The report also found that 65% of impoverished parents were forced to give up on medicine or medical treatment for their children at some point in the last year, while 40% of these parents had to do this multiple times.
Over one third of impoverished children were forced to go to work in order to help their families financially, and as such some 27% of children dropped out of school this past year.
In addition, some 32% of impoverished children were forced to go to orphanages in 2014 – a sharp increase compared to 2013, when this figure was only 22 percent.
Similarly disturbing statistics were revealed regarding the elderly population.
A vast majority, some 94% of impoverished elderly said that old age allotments are not enough to live in dignity and buy basic necessities.
The report found that 92% of the elderly cannot afford nursing care or help at home – an increase in 10.8% from 2013.
Furthermore, over half, 56%, of the impoverished elderly are unable to afford medicine or medical treatments – an increase of 14% from 2013. While an additional 56% suffer from a lack of nutrition because they are unable to afford basic food necessities.