A new report released by the Latet foundation on Monday paints an even starker picture of poverty in Israel than a gloomy official report published last week.
According to the charitable organization, a quarter of the children whose parents accept assistance from foundations were reported as going to sleep hungry several times a month, with 36% of children whose families receive aid were forced to work in order to keep the family afloat.
Six days after the National Insurance Institute released its poverty report, the alternative Latet publication shows a dramatic rise of 45% in children of supported families who were forced to move into state-run boarding schools.
The report, which focused on the situation amongst the most impoverished elements in Israel, was based on three surveys. One polled people receiving assistance from charity foundations, another looked at public opinion regarding economic conditions and the government response, and the final survey questioned the managers of some 100 food charities.
A new poverty index, compiled by ERI for Latet and based on basic necessities, found that poverty rates were significantly higher than those reported by the government agency. According to the new index, some 2,546,000 Israelis live below the poverty line - including 932,000 children.
The NII report claimed that 1,600,000 Israelis were living in poverty.
The Latet surveys, conducted in the second half of 2014, reflect the effects of cutbacks in stipends for children and the increase in sales tax, claimed the foundation's researchers. They emphasized that the official report only examined 2013, thus missing the recent deterioration in the condition of Israel's most impoverished citizens.
The Latet report, however, was not supervised by an independent academic review. It relied on the development of an index by the foundation's researchers and on the subjective reports of the people polled; as opposed to the NII report, which was based on objective calculations regarding income and expenses.