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      ‘Statistical Poverty’ Grows

      The number of Israel in "poverty” has grown again, but the statistical calculations in effect make the "circle of poverty” eternal.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 11/9/2010, 4:07 PM / Last Update: 11/9/2010, 4:19 PM

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      The number of Israel living in "poverty” has grown again, but the statistical calculations in effect make the "circle of poverty” eternal.

      The annual report from the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) states that the number of Israelis living under the ”poverty line” rose last year by more than 7 percent.

      The report actually reflects financial inequities more than it does poverty, a term which is statistically defined by a family’s income being less than half of the median.

      If every family were to receive a grant of another 3,600 shekels ($1,000) a month, the number of poor people would remain the same because the median average would rise.

      The inequities exist because of an increasing rich-poor situation, where the extremely high incomes for a small percentage of wealthy families grow faster than the increase for poor families.

      The “Poverty Report” also reveals that poverty and financial inequities are more pronounced among the hareidi religious and Arab communities. One reason for the increased inequity in incomes was the global financial crisis, which forced many wage earners out of work and cut the pay of others.