MK Aryeh Deri, head of the Shas party, slammed the government Tuesday following the publication of the 2012 poverty report, which showed that over 1,700,000 people in Israel are living under the poverty line.
“The government failed when it came to the snow storm, and now it is failing regarding the poverty storm,” Deri said.
“It’s not fun or pleasant to talk about poverty, hunger and crisis, but these are the terrifying real figures,” he continued. “Half of the parents getting support report that their children have gone without food for an entire day because there wasn’t enough, 29% of children in families getting support drop out of school, and 5% are forced to beg.”
Deri added that he expects no better from the 2013 poverty report. “The government that didn’t succeed in preparing for the snow definitely won’t succeed here… In this case, they won’t be able to say it was a historic storm and there was no way to be ready for it.
“During voting on the budget we cried out in warning,” he concluded.
The 2012 report shows that the overall number of people living in poverty in Israel dropped by one-half of a percent, but that 440,000 homes remain under the poverty line. Poverty increased by 3% among the elderly, reaching a rate of 23%. More than 180,000 elderly Israelis are living under the poverty line.
Over 45% of those living in poverty in 2012 were children. A total of 817,200 children were living under the poverty line during the year.
The poverty line in Israel is defined as half of the median disposable income weighted by household size. Some have criticized the measurement, noting that it fails to take savings or debt into account, and fails to distinguish between temporary income shortage and long-term poverty.