Yesh Atid: Child Poverty is a Badge of Shame on PM

Yesh Atid blames Netanyahu after Latet releases report showing 1 in 3 children in Israel live below the poverty line.

Cynthia Blank ,

Children most at risk from poverty
Children most at risk from poverty
Yad Ezra V'Shulamit

The blame for Israeli citizens' economic situations lies squarely with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to Yesh Atid. 

The Alternative Poverty Report published Monday by the humanitarian Latet Organization painted a much grimmer picture than the report Bituach Leumi (National Insurance) put out last week. 

According to Latet, one in three children in Israel live below the poverty line. In total, two million Israeli citizens live in dire straits. 

Bituach Leumi's report concluded that 1.66 million citizens of Israel continue to live below the poverty line; of that number, 756,900 are children.  

Responding quickly to Latet's report, Yesh Atid stated that "the data on the extent of poverty in Israel is a badge of shame on the Prime Minister." 

"After two years of hard work to stop the breakdown of the middle class and to bring disadvantaged children and the elderly out of poverty, the Prime Minister still does not see the sights and hear the sounds," Yesh Atid added. 

According to Yesh Atid, Netanyahu is moved by political considerations only. 

"Netanyahu prefers to transfer hundreds of millions of shekels to isolated settlements in order to wink at the Likud Central Committee, and continues to ignore the distress of Israeli society," the party argued. 

"He prefers building a visitor center in Samaria to providing drugs for the elderly, hot meals in schools, and scholarships for needy children to buy textbooks." 

Kulanu party Chairman Moshe Kahlon also responded to the "worrisome data" documented in the report. 

"Children going to bed hungry is an unacceptable phenomenon," he said. "The solution is lowering the cost of living and dismantling the monopolies and power groups."

Yesh Atid's criticism echoes statements made by Labor MK Shelly Yehimovich after the publication of the Bituach Leumi report. 

"Poverty is not an act of fate, it is not a natural disaster, this is a direct result of government policy," Yehimovich said Wednesday. 

Blaming Netanyahu as well, Yehimovich added "Netanyahu began implementing his views in 2003 when he served as Minister of Finance. He really believed in his actions then."

"Today, too, he really believes that if the rich get more and more, sometime, someday, it will seep down into the middle class. It's just not true," she stressed.