Poverty Rate Drops, But a Third of Israel’s Children Still Hungry

November 17, 2011  

The poverty rates have dropped to levels not seen since 2003 – but a third of Israel’s youth are still hungry, according to the latest government figures released Thursday.

The 2010 poverty report noted that 20 percent of the nation’s families – 1.7 million citizens – are still living at or below the official poverty line, including 873,000 children.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz chose to focus on the positive aspects of the report. “For the first time we are seeing the beginning of narrowing gaps, the beginning of a poverty-reduction trend in all populations: the elderly, children, and the two most disadvantaged groups, the hareidim and the Arabs,” he noted. “This is an important topic we deal with daily,” told an audience during a speech to the Calcalist conference.

Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon, however, said bluntly that the wealth gaps and poverty levels were “intolerable” and that the situation “must change.”

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