Report Reveals Poverty Is on the Rise in Israel

National Insurance Institute report shows the number of families living below the poverty line increased by 15,000 in 2009.

A report on poverty in Israel released on Monday revealed that the number of families living below the poverty line has increased by 15,000 in 2009.

The report, which was released by the National Insurance Institute, said the total number of people living below the poverty line is around 150,000. The report is based on date from 2009, which is considered the peak year of the international economic crisis.

Most of the families discussed in the report are either ultra-Orthodox or Arab, the two sectors of society which have the highest poverty rates. The report noted that the group with the highest poverty rate was Arabs living in East Jerusalem.

A common factor within most of the families discussed was that the main earner in the family had lost their source of income or their work conditions had deteriorated because of the global economic crisis. Even without these factors, 6,300 families with two sources of income are still living below the poverty line.

In 2009, there were 435,100 families living below the poverty line, with 850,300 children among them, an increase from the 783,600 children living below the poverty line in 2008.

The one positive note in the report is that poverty rates amongst the elderly have improved since 2008.

Esther Dominissini, The Director General of the National Insurance Institute, said in response to the report that in order to reduce the poverty rate, minimum wage must be raised, additional grants for poor children must be considered, and changes must be made to support low incomes.

"Its impossible to fight poverty without making a list of priorities," Dominissini said.