A poll of Israelis on how they fulfill the Purim tradition of “mishloach manot” (exchanging gifts of food with friends and neighbors) showed that a significant number of Israelis were reducing their budget for the practice this year because of high prices.
Twenty percent of those polled by the Chasdei Naomi organization, which provides assistance to needy families, said that they were cutting their outlay for mishloach manot by up to 50%, compared to previous years. More men (12% of all those polled) said they were cutting back than women (7%).
The poll said that 47% of Israelis spent between NIS 70-100 ($20-$27) on their mishloach manot, while 20% spent more than NIS 200. Fifty five percent of Israelis do exchange gifts on Purim, while 45% said they do not.
Among its other activities, Chasdei Naomi distributes gifts to poor families especially in honor of Purim. This year, said organization chairman Yosef Cohen, the group is distributing NIS 700,000 ($180,000) worth of goods to families during the week of Purim. “Especially in Hareidi and religious families there is financial pressure at Purim time, as they try to ensure they have money to give out mishloach manot.
Many people can only afford to give out small portions, spending not more than NIS 10-20 on each. On the one hand, they want to fulfill the tradition properly, but on the other hand it is financially very difficult for some families,” he said.