Covid-related lockdowns have pushed nearly 50,000 households in Israel under the poverty line in October. Attendees of the recent Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economics and Society received the daunting statistic that there is merely one job opening for every 16 unemployed people. And that’s not everything.
“The economic crisis brought on by covid is unprecedented in its scope and strength, Minister of Labor, Social Welfare and Social Services Itzik Shmuli said at the conference. The event was organized by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). Two and a half million Israelis have been damaged economically by the crisis, nearly 50,000 households have sunk below the poverty line and about 100,000 are currently closer to poverty.”
Shmuli also added that “Tens of thousands of families have witnessed their worlds collapse and are currently knocking on the doors of the welfare services” and that they are “witnessing a meteoric increase of 2.5 times more requests for assistance with food along with a 41% increase in bankruptcy requests, and a 60% spike in opening of welfare cases.”
“The consequences of all this will linger with us for many years as a society,” Shmuli cautioned.
Feeling the brunt of these developments are organizations like Meir Panim, which operates five Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens across Israel, along with other food and social service programs. Since the start of the pandemic, Meir Panim has been working overtime just to keep up with the increased demand, as the number of people in Israel who can’t afford to feed their families increases by the day.