Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Poverty Rising in Israel

The Israeli economy is booming. Particularly the high tech sphere and defense related industries. Yet poverty is on the rise. And the division of Israeli society into three class continues: the rich, the poor, and the middle class fighting to stay out of poverty.

According to the latest Israeli government figures, 27% of Israeli citizens live below the poverty line. This includes 35% of its children. As expected, large families make up a disproportionate number of the poor. But, not as expected, the number of working poor - those with at least one member working full time but who still can not make ends meet, is rising. Activists insist this is at least partly caused by the government failing to enforce its own already weak labour laws. That and the virtual dismantling of the government's social safety net during Ariel Sharon's premiership, with Bibi Netanyahu trying to out-Thatcher Thatcher while Minister of Finance.

All this is a far cry from the dreams of Israel's early Labour Zionists.

For more info see this article in the Jerusalem Post, and this one in Haaretz.

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