protest, food cost, cost of living
Protesters on Rothschild in Tel Aviv. Shoppers have started asking which goods are price-controlled. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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If any more proof was needed of the wide gaps between the rich and poor in Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics' annual survey of household spending provides it. The top-earning 20% of Israelis spent only 13% of their income on food last year, while the bottom 20% spent 23% just to feed themselves, the stats bureau reported yesterday when releasing its spending survey for 2010.

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The top two deciles spend NIS 21,300 a month on consumption, including NIS 2,844 on food. This compares to NIS 8,264 in consumer spending for the bottom two deciles, who spend NIS 1,866 a month on food. Altogether, half of the spending for the poorest 20% goes to food and shelter.

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Housing is the largest single expense for Israelis, averaging NIS 3,380 a month per household. The bottom 20% spend over 25% of their income on housing. Interestingly, the best-off also spend an almost equal percentage of their spending on housing, 23%, but of course there is not much comparison between what these percentages provide. The average household spent NIS 13,500 a month in 2010, a 1% increase from 2009 after being adjusted for inflation. The biggest increase in spending between 2009 and 2010 was for food and clothing.