Charity: One in Five Israelis on Food Aid Has Considered Suicide

Latet head: Despite recent growth in employment figures, Israel's poor have become poorer.

One in five Israelis living on food aid has considered suicide due to economic hardship, according to an "alternative" poverty report published Tuesday.

The report, released by the charity Latet, came after one published by the National Insurance Institute indicated that poverty had actually declined in Israel for the first time in ten years.

The charity reported that poverty-stricken Israelis cannot afford to buy the minimal amount of food purchases necessary for a healthy diet.

Latet, which distributes food to more than 100 charity groups serving needy Israelis, also stated that 80 percent of Israelis living on support provided by aid groups are below the hunger line.

"There is certain numbness, an impervious wall and a lack of understanding of the need to assist families, individuals and weaker socioeconomic classes," said Welfare Minister MK Isaac Hertzog, speaking in response to the report.

Latet Executive Director Eran Weintraub said the report shows that Israel's poor have become poorer.

He also said that the ability of aid organizations to support them has weakened as a result of the decreasing donations, the rising price of food, the erosion of the public's interest and the government's failure to combat poverty.

Seven percent of the people who participated in the survey admitted they fear dying of hunger. Furthermore, 44 percent stated they cannot imagine breaking out of the cycle of poverty, and believe that their children will also grow up to be poor.

According to the report, the number of parents who have been forced to send their children to a boarding school due to their economic situation has leaped by 33 percent in comparison to the 2007 report.