Israel struggles with high poverty rating

Friday, May 17, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

Despite Israel's overall economic resilience and strong global market presence, which we have written on numerous times in the past, the Jewish state continues to struggle with high poverty levels.

A survey published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday revealed that Israel has the highest rate of poverty among all developed nations.

Nearly 21 percent of all Israelis live below the poverty line. That's even higher than the poverty rate of Mexico, which stands at 20.4 percent.

Israel scored a little better when it came to the gap between rich and poor, placing fifth behind Chile, Mexico, Turkey and the USA.

The results of the survey came at a terrible time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, which is trying to cut the national deficit by increasing taxes and slashing spending on welfare programs.

In today's current economic climate, those who are considered "middle class" Israelis live from paycheck-to-paycheck, and can no longer afford to buy a home. Those who live at a lower economic level are obviously much worse off, and many of the welfare programs they rely on are facing what Finance Minister Yair Lapid calls "necessary cuts" to get Israel back on track fiscally.

Those who often suffer most, and understand the least, are the children.

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