has social inequalities, with a fifth of its population living under the poverty line and only about a half of its residents with incomes suitable for a developed country. This is what was stated in a report presented by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) secretary-general to Israel's socio-economic cabinet.
The report concluded that if Israel joins the organization, it will be the most "unequal and poor" member in the organization, based on its social indicators.
A governmental source described the report as Israel's proof of inadequacy, which stems from surveys conducted by the organization in the fields of employment and income gaps between the different sectors.
The two weak spots that the report focused on are the non-Jewish and haredim sectors. Based on these findings, the conditions for entrance into the organization might very well be Israel's commitment to issue "groundbreaking" social-economic policies to improve the standard of living within these two sectors.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría clarified that the reviewing committee had a very good impression of the Israel's market in terms of the country's relatively high GDP per capita, its budget allocation and its national debt. Israel's spot as the second largest developer of High Tech in the world (after the United States) also played a positive role, Gurría noted.
However, OECD members are also, if not mainly measured by their poverty level as well as their government's policy to reduce social inequalities. In this respect, the report paints a grim picture of Israel's situation – one that stains the country and must be promptly removed by the government.
According to the report, more than 50% of Israel's residents generate a monthly income lower than ILS 4,000 ($1,080) and some 20% live under the OECD's poverty line indicator.
However, despite the gloomy findings and the social faults, cabinet members estimated that the organization will agree to admit Israel as a member, seeing that the decision is also politically motivated and is largely dependant on the United States and the European nations.
The decision, the cabinet noted, will most likely be conditioned upon modification of social policies as well as progress on the Palestinian issue.
In an effort to address the report's findings, Minister of Minorities Avishay Braverman (Labor) announced that his office will initiate job fairs in campuses around the country that will create more opportunities for employment of Arab students upon completion of their studies.
In terms of adopting new policies in the Jewish-haredi sector, the cabinet said that the government is obligated to adopt the reports' recommendation and determine a clear policy to increase haredi males' participation in the job market.
The report's findings are slated to be published Wednesday in Jerusalem.