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Israel’s Poverty Rate Rises as Standard of Living Crashes

January 22, 2021

by: Gad Lior

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Children looking for discarded food in the market in Jerusalem (illustrative)

Friday, 22 January 2021 | Israel’s poverty rate has increased while the standard of living has dipped significantly throughout 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis and the consequent three national closures, a report published on Thursday by the National Insurance Institute said.

The report specifies that since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel in March 2020, the number of citizens living below the poverty line had increased by 7%, accompanied by a significant 4.4% decrease in the nation’s standard of living.

The current drop in living standards in Israel is the most significant the country had endured since the economic crisis of 2008 and is 23% worse.

The report further states that the number of people living under the poverty line dropped slightly to 1,980,309, compared to more than 2 million in 2019. These figures are not necessarily encouraging since the poverty line is defined by the average standard of living, which has dropped considerably in the past year.

Among Israel’s Jewish population below 1,277,477 people are living under the poverty line, 560,882 of which are children.

The report shows that the average monthly income of families in 2020 decreased by 11% to NIS 13,627 [US $4,157.63], compared to NIS 15,274 [US $4,660.13] in 2019.

Eli Cohen, CEO of Pitchon Lev said: “For years we have been arguing that poverty is the scourge [of Israel], a state of affairs that is expanding to new audiences.”

“According to the report, a 23% drop in living standards means that the lower part of the middle class has fallen into poverty. The only thing that curbs this catastrophe is government payments. Government payments will stop in the near future while the decline in living standards will remain,” added Cohen. “Behind every number, figure and statistic in this report is a person, family and a business that collapsed.”

Three national lockdowns in nine months have plunged many Israelis into a yawning pit of need from which they see no escape. They've lost the ability to pay for necessities like rent or food months ago. Bridges for Peace continues to receive additional calls for help. They come from single mothers who lost their only source of income, fathers who can no longer feed their families, new immigrants we helped when they first arrived in Israel, and the list goes on. We want to answer every one of these calls. With the help of Christians around the world, we can come alongside these Israelis, meeting their basic need for sustenance through regular food parcels. Will you donate today to help put food on empty tables and show the people God calls the "apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8) the love and support of Christians?

Posted on January 22, 2021

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynet on January 21, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Sylvia Large/

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