According to the report, 19.8% of Israeli families suffered from poverty in 2010, compared to 20.5% in 2009. The number of children living below the poverty line fell from 36.3% in 2009 to 35.3%, and the overall percentage of Israeli citizens living in poverty also fell – from 25% in 2009, to 24.45.
There were a total of 433,300 families living below the poverty line in 2010, including 837,300 children.
These new figures bring Israel back to same levels they were at between 2007 and 2009. The main reason for the change, according to the report, is an expansion of employment data. Despite the drop in the number of Israelis living in poverty, however, the measures that estimate the severity and depth of poverty have not seen significant change, even rising from 35.5% to 35.9%.
The slight drop in poverty levels was evident across the majority of social sectors, including the elderly, single-parent families and large families. Despite this, the percentage of working families in poverty rose from 49% in 2009, to 50.6% in 2010.
Following the publication of the report, Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon said “despite the drop in poverty levels in 2010, the differences in poverty from year to year do not manage to change the sad situation in recent years. One fifth of families and around one third of children in Israel are poor, therefore I turn to the government to intervene in a more meaningful and widespread manner in order to fight and reduce poverty.”
National Insurance Institute Director General Esther Dominissini said that “although there was a drop in poverty levels in most communities in 2010, and this is really good news, poverty levels in Israel are still high and they are in double figures. Inequality is too high, both in absolute terms in and in comparison with the OECD.”
How does Meir Panim fight the battle against poverty in Israel?
- More than 2,000 hungry people a day are served a hot nourishing meal at one of Meir Panim’s 14 free restaurants.
- 5,000 hot lunches are delivered each day to schools throughout the country day for needy children.
- 1,700 Meals-On-Wheels are delivered daily to the elderly, disabled and homebound.
- Thousands of 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.
- The soon to be completed Israel Nutrition Center will be the largest food production facility in Israel, distributing 30,000 meals daily.