Arab families living in Israel are four times likelier than their Jewish counterparts to live in poverty, according to a report published Saturday by the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.
“It is time for the State of Israel to wake up and realize that if this situation is not dealt with, it will only become progressively worse,” said Amin Fares, Director of Social Economic Justice Unit at the Center.
A report on poverty and social welfare published this week has indicated that hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens currently live below the poverty line. Among Israel’s Arab citizens, however, the situation appears to be far worse.
“Poverty statistics in Israel’s periphery are extremely disheartening, and the Arab population is a periphery within a periphery,” said Fares. The director also pointed out that “in spite of all the talk about economic growth in Israel, this economic progress is hardly felt within the Arab population.”
'Massive aid, investment needed'The Center’s report has shown that a staggering 54% of Israel’s Arab population lives in poverty, as compared to 15% of the Jewish population. According to the report, over 150,000 Arab families, including some 400,000 children, live below the poverty line.
“In 2006 there was a marked decline in the number of impoverished Jewish families, but no commensurate drop has been seen among the Arab population,” said Fares, noting that “these statistics clearly highlight what the Centre has been trying to demonstrate all along. Behind these numbers are families, and children who are poor, hungry and looking to the government for solutions.”
Fares also noted that without immediate attention on the government’s part, these Arab families’ plight will only worsen.
“Without massive aid and investment both on the government’s part and that of the private business sector, these harsh statistics will only become increasingly worse," he said.