One in Five Israelis Live in Poverty, Report Finds

The report published by food security NGO Latet Israel finds that nearly 1 million children are effected by the poverty rates and one in three children receiving support have to skip meals due to lack of food

FILE Photo: A man digging through the trash.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

Some 20% of families in Israel live in poverty, according to the “alternative” annual poverty report published by the food security NGO Latet Israel, released on Wednesday.

The organization publishes its poverty report as an alternative to the official report published by the National Insurance Institute.

Some 533,000 families in Israel live in poverty, which is 21% of all families in the country, reports Latet.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

This includes 1 million children, or 35.6% of all children in the country.

The report is based on a survey conducted among a representative sample of the population. Respondents are questioned on their financial well-being, including food purchases, health, education and cost of living.

By this measure, there are 542,000 more people living in poverty in Israel than found in the official NII report, which is due to be published soon.

Some 8.4% of households said they face a serious lack of goods and services due to the high costs in Israel, and acknowledged that they pay their bills late and have had their water and electricity cut off, and are facing debt-collection pressure, lawsuits and eviction notices. They also stated that they lack clothing and shoes in good condition, and can’t heat their homes in the winter.

Another 11.3% of households said they face a moderate shortage of goods and services due to high prices. This affects their ability to cool their homes in the summer, and to go out for entertainment at least once every three months.

The report also states that some 6% of children from the families that the NGO supports have had to beg for donations, and another 6% have collected food from the ground or garbage bins. Some 5.4% of children from families receiving Latet support have been driven to steal food.

A full one in four children from families receiving support frequently go to school without a packed lunch, and one in three have said they have to skip meals due to a lack of food.

Some 23.6% of the children in families Latet supports say they go hungry because their parents cannot afford food.