The socioeconomic gap between the Jewish and Arab sectors in Israel has increased significantly in recent years and is particularly noticeable among children, according to a new study published on Sunday.
The report, which was drafted by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, presented a gloomy picture according to which 78% of Arab children residing in central Israel lived under the poverty line in 2006. The situation was not much better in the north, where 63% of all Arab children lived in poverty. In southern Israel, 63% of Arab children lived beneath the poverty line in the same year.
According to Dr Daniel Gottlieb and Suleiman Abu-Bader, who authored the report, the economic gap between Jews and Arabs in Israel has grown over the past few years: In 2006, 56% of Israeli-Arabs lived under the poverty line, as opposed to 36% who lived in poverty 10 years prior.
'Poverty a serious disease'
During that same period, poverty among the Jewish population increased by only 3%, reaching about 17% in 2006.
"Without the government's massive intervention, this trend may worsen in the coming years," the report said.
According to the study, the poverty rate among Arabs residing in communities that are not recognized by the State in southern Israel has reached a staggering 70%. The situation of women in these communities does not bode well for the future, the researchers said, as only 39% of them graduated from high school.
According to the report, only 7% of Bedouin women living in unrecognized communities are employed, and the number is only slightly higher in Bedouin towns that are recognized by the state (10%).
However, the study does indicate an improvement in the education level among young Arab-Israeli women.
"If the State of Israel wants to develop, it must work to reduce the level of poverty, which has become a serious disease," Dr Gottlieb told Ynet.