According to the report, general poverty rates have risen from 19.8% in 2010 to 19.9% in 2011, despite the fact that more people have entered the job market.
The most surprising finding was the sharp rise in poverty rates among families with two incomes or
more – a population considered immune to poverty – a rise of over 2% from 2010.
According to the report, 442,200 Israeli families live below the poverty line, including 860,900 children.
Poverty rates among the elderly, however, have dropped to their lowest rates in eight years. From a record high of 25.1% in 2004, poverty rates among the elderly have dropped to 19.4% in 2011.
Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of the National Insurance Institute stated “Israel should aspire to a significant improvement in poverty and inequality. To do this, policy makers must work on various levels: invest in education, offer training for job seekers, encourage employment, and ensure adequate wages.
How does Meir Panim fight the battle against poverty in Israel?
- More than 500,000 hot, nourishing meals are served annually through Meir Panim’s network of free restaurants.
- 340,000 hot lunches are distributed annually to needy children throughout the country.
- 180,000 Meals-On-Wheels are delivered annually to the homebound, disabled and elderly.
- Prepaid food shopping cards are distributed to struggling families and Holocaust survivors each month and before holidays.
- Over 2,000 disadvantaged children attended Meir Panim day camps this past summer.
- More than 350 children-at-risk attend Meir Panim after-school youth clubs.
- Vocational training programs are offered to help break the cycle of poverty.
- Meir Panim’s Israel Nutrition Center will be the largest food production facility in Israel, distributing 30,000 meals daily.