An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash
An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash
Photo: Shaul Golan
An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash for empty bottles that can be returned to stores for a small amount of money

Food bank NGO: Quarter of Israelis living in poverty

Half a million families, among them one million children, are below poverty line, Latet says; half of the elderly in need cannot heat their homes in winter or adapt them to medical needs; more than half of children receiving aid do not have enough to eat

Amir Alon |
Published: 12.09.19 , 14:21
Quarter of Israel's population, 2,306,000 people, live in poverty, according to a report by an Israeli food bank NGO.
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  • According to the Alternative Poverty Report published by Latet on Monday, about 80% of families supported by aid organizations have at least one income provider, and 20% have two or more income providers.
    An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash for empty bottles that can be returned to stores for a small amount of money An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash for empty bottles that can be returned to stores for a small amount of money
    An elderly Israeli man searches in the trash for empty bottles that can be returned to stores for a small amount of money
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    The report also showed that the percentage of Israelis living below the poverty line was down by a percentage point from last year.
    About 530,000 families, among them 1,007,000 children, in Israel live in poverty.
    Latet is an Israeli nonprofit aid organization and national food bank that also acts as an umbrella organization for 180 local NGOs across 105 communities, providing the basic needs for Israelis living in poverty and food insecurity.
    The Alternative Poverty report is published every year ahead of a a similar study by the National Insurance Institute.
    Comparing both reports published last year shows a discrepancy of about 525,500 people in the report made by the NII.
    The difference stems from the criteria of the reports. While the NII report only measures income rate, the Alternative Poverty Report measures food security, housing, education, health and ability to withstand the cost of living.
    The Latet report also sheds light on the degrading social state of many of Israel's elderly.
    About 59% of elderly citizens who are supported by aid organizations cannot afford to make their homes suitable for their medical needs, due to a lack of income.
    About 64.5% of the elderly who receive aid don't have properly fitting clothes and about 49% cannot heat their homes during winter.
    Homeless men begging on the street in Jerusalem Homeless men begging on the street in Jerusalem
    Homeless men begging on the street in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    The report also highlights the risk of severe food insecurity among many children. About 54% of children given aid have cut down or skipped meals last year and about 48.5% of parents given aid forfeit milk substitute for their babies or give them less than the required amount.
    Along with food insecurity, the report shows how poverty can cause education inequality.
    About 87% of children given aid don't have after school programs and about 82% cannot afford after-school tutoring.
    Homeless people in Jerusalem Homeless people in Jerusalem
    Homeless people in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    About 58.5% cannot attend educational institutions until the age of three and about 69% cannot afford school textbooks and materials.
    Data shows that 79% of those given aid struggle with a chronic medical condition, about 67% were forced to give up on medications or treatment due to costs and about 58% had to give up treatments or medications for their children.
    Exclusive data given to Ynet shows that a third of people supported by aid work as contracted workers, in comparison to 20% of the total population.
    An impoverished elderly man in Jerusalem An impoverished elderly man in Jerusalem
    An impoverished elderly man in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    About 61% of workers given aid stated that their lack of education prevents them from bettering their occupational future, 58% said that their monthly income does not suffice to fully support their children.
    About 49% stated that they choose not to ask for support out of fear that their earnings would be confiscated for repayment of debt; 34% stated they fear their benefits would be hurt by an increase in income.
    ערן וינטרובערן וינטרוב
    Latet Executive Director Eran Weintraub
    (Photo: Latet)
    "Frequent and continuous election campaigns, a paralyzed Knesset and a transitional government that cannot govern - have lost us a year," said Latet Chairman Gilles Darmon and Executive Director Eran Weintraub.
    "Not only is there no multi-year operative program or regular policy, but everything is stuck. These hardships don't go away, and when there are no systemic tools, government plans or long-term processes, there is also no chance of getting out of poverty or creating substantial social change," they said.

    First published: 14:21 , 12.09.19
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