That’s an additional 123,500 people that joined the circle of poverty in Israel. The number of disadvantaged children suffering also increased from 783,600 to 850,300 in the last year.
To simplify, the number of people living in poverty hit 25 percent of the population in 2009, up from 23.7 percent the previous year. Among children, the percentage also increased from 34 percent to 36.35 percent in just one year. In a recent Ynet.com story, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said, “Poverty is the biggest danger facing Israel today.” A social resilience survey in 2009 reported that 79 percent of Israelis worry about the gap between the rich and poor in Israel—down from 70 percent in 2008. The decline is most likely caused by the global economic crisis.
The NII poverty report also showed an increase of 15,000 families who joined the growing ranks of poor people in 2009. The report noted that most families experiencing a drop in their standard of living had one working family member, with many having to take severe pay cuts while others lost their jobs. “These families suffered a direct blow,” said Herzog in a recent Ynet.com story. “They don’t have any stable economic support which could have prevented their distress.” The report also stated that the prevalence of poverty among the elderly declined from 22.7% in 2008 to 20.1% in 2009. Welfare authorities attribute the decline to an increase in old age.
How is Meir Panim Fighting The Battle Against Poverty in Israel?
- More than 2,000 hungry people are served a hot nourishing meal daily at one of Meir Panim’s 14 free restaurant locations throughout Israel
- 5,000 hot lunches are served daily to hungry school children
- 1,700 Meals-On-Wheels are delivered daily to the elderly and handicapped
- Thousands of food packages and food shopping cards are delivered annually to the homebound and elderly, including Holocaust survivors and new immigrants
- 5,000 winter kits are distributed annually to disadvantaged Israelis through Power of Giving Warehouses
- 1,200 disadvantaged children attended summer camp last year
- More than 300 children attend after-school youth clubs
- 60 women are enrolled annually in vocational training programs
- 30,000 meals will be distributed throughout Israel daily to the needy at the Mortimer Zuckerman and Abigail Zuckerman Israel Nutrition Center—the largest food production facility in Israel. To be completed in July 2011