Study: 850,000 Children Live in Poverty in Israel

Non-profit organization Latet publishes annual 'alternative poverty report': 1.77 million people in Israel are poor, 75% of them forgo meals due to economic status.

Some 1.77 million people live in poverty in Israel, of them more than 850,000 children, according to an "alternative poverty report" published by the non-profit organization Latet.

The organization found in its 2010 study that 75% of impoverished individuals in Israel forgo meals due to their financial situation, a 21% rise from 2009.

Moreover, 83% of children did not receive dental care and 22% of the poor confessed that they have had suicidal thoughts due to their economic status.

Latet works in coordination with 150 soup kitchens that aid 60,000 of 223,000 impoverished families - of them 530,000 children.

"Throughout the last decade, poverty in Israel has significantly increased. Social gaps have widened and the obstacles to escaping poverty have increased," said Latet Executive Director Eran Weintraub.

"Netanyahu's macroeconomic neoliberal policy may have improved the economy but it abandoned and neglected the people. In any other enlightened place in the world the failure of our anti-social policy would long have justified a civilian rebellion, but the poor in Israel have no political power. We hope to soon begin the change which will be a civilian protest that will lead the fight against poverty."

Latet's 2010 study shows that 69% of impoverished individuals live without nutritional security, meaning they and their families do not have the accessibility to food needed for basic existence.

According to the study, 5% of impoverished children beg for money in order to survive. 8% of children are forced to steal food, and about half of poor children are nourished from solely bread and spread.

In regards to employment, the study shows that 30% of poor individuals who get support from NGOs are employed, while 60% are unemployed who have been out of a job for over three years, an increase of 11% in comparison to 2009.

This is the eighth year that Latet has published this report, which portrays the situation on the ground based on the testimonies of 520 non-governmental organizations.

Children in Tel Aviv
Nir Kafri