Nearly one in every four Israelis lives below the poverty line, according to a report released today by the National Insurance Institute (NII). Half a million Israelis have fallen below the poverty line over the past five years, representing 100,000 families, according to the report. During that time, Israel's population increased by about 8 percent, but the number of poor increased by 45 percent. The report says that 1,534,300 Israelis live below the poverty line - 23.6 percent of the population, compared to 13 percent in the United States. The number of poor Israeli children has risen considerably. In 2000, 25.2 percent of Israel's children were poor, but the figure jumped to 33.2 percent in 2004.
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