Israel's National Insurance Institute: One in Ten Families Suffer From Hunger

Study involving 5,000 families finds 19 percent suffer from food insecurity; says solution lays in encouraging employment and increasing stipends.

A survey conducted recently by Israel's National Insurance Institute, the first of its kind, found that 19 percent of families in the country suffer from food insecurity, 10 percentsuffer from hunger and two percent suffer from severe hunger.

The survey, which included 5,000 families, corresponds with Israel's poverty rate data, according to which 19 to 20 percent live under the poverty line.

Volunteers fill boxes of food at an Israeli food pantry.
Nir Kafri

The survey also found that 13 percent of families don't have sufficient food, and a third of the families surveyed have opted to buy other products instead of food. 12 percent rely on the assistance of their family or friends.

The National Insurance Institute said that "encouraging fair employment of those who are capable of working may decrease the economic distress found in the survey." An analysis of the report added that "this is the preferred solution for the needs of the poor population, which suffers from food insecurity and can make a living."

However, the National Insurance Institute said that among the poor population there are those who do not work for various reasons. These include handicapped people and people who tend to sick family members. The proposed solution for this population, according to the report, is stipends.

The analysis also claims that the existing stipends are not enough for a dignified living, and urged the government to raise the payments significantly. "On the other hand," the report said, "a government that widely supports charity food organizations contributes unwillingly to an increase in demand."

Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich said that "an enlightened and modern society is judged by its poor and their ability to survive, and according to the state's own data, the jungle economy – of which Netanyahu is an advocate – leaves the weakest behind and sentences them to a life of poverty and survival."