Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Hidden Poverty in Israel

According to statistics published by the JTA, almost 25% of Israelis are poor including 37% of Israeli children. Why then to we think of Israel as an entrepreneurial powerhouse? Why aren't there riots? Why is the Israeli government about to be re-elected?

Because poverty in Israel is concentrated in two socially isolated, and deeply unpopular, segments of Israeli society. Most of the poverty is in the Arab and Haredi sectors. 53% of Israeli Arabs and 54% of Israel's ultra-orthodox are poor. Among the rest - mostly secular or modern orthodox Jews - the poverty rate is about 9.25% - comparable to the national poverty rate in Canada, nothing to be proud of, but clearly not in the riot producing range.

So, just like the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, for "main stream" Israelis, the country's poor are mostly out of site and out of mind.

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