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Israel facing ‘greatest economic crises in its history’

June 1, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing protective masks walk by carrying bags of shopping in the religious Israeli city of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, on April 6, 2020 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel is “facing one of the greatest economic crises in its history” with 40 per-cent of its population struggling to pay for their basic needs, new study has found.

The stark discovery was made by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organisation which describes itself as “build[ing] broad support for Israel” and a research institute, Geocartography.

Close to one in ten Israelis (9.6 per cent) are struggling to put food on the table, and a tenth of Israelis surveyed are in danger of being evicted from their homes, or having their electricity and/or water turned off, said the Jerusalem Post in its report of the Fellowship’s findings.

Property owners and those living in rented accommodation are also experiencing difficulty paying for their mortgage and rent while many more are having trouble paying bills such as electricity, water, gas and municipality taxes.

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“The survey results serve to underscore what most experts already suspected,” Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of the Fellowship, is reported saying. “As the medical emergency is winding down, Israel is still facing one of the greatest economic crises in its history. Our main task right now, as Israel’s leading social welfare organization, is to help families and individuals who have lost their livelihood due to the coronavirus restrictions, survive this crisis until they get back on their feet.”

While 40 per cent said that they are facing difficulties finding ways to pay for basic expenditures such as food, bills and rent or making mortgage payments, many more acknowledged that help was hard to come by.

Some 42.6 per cent of those surveyed said that they have no family members of friends to help them through this crisis.

Figures of the number of Israelis that have lost their income paints a bleak picture of the economy and its impact on society.

If the participants in the survey are to be considered a true representation then 21 per cent of the country’s population have lost household income because of the crisis, forcing over a tenth of the population to return to living with their parents.

Explaining the impact, Tami Barsheshet, chairperson of the organisation of social service managers in the local authorities said: “Having one or two members of a family dismissed from their jobs or put on unpaid leave creates an economic crisis that affects the whole family.”

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Only a quarter of those surveyed said that their income was not affected in any way, an indication that the vast majority of Israelis have been impacted in some shape or form.

Baresheshet said that there has been a 50 per cent increase in new requests to local social service departments and that the situation is expected to get worse.

Some 13 per cent admitted to receiving assistance or have expressed desire to seek support in the near future from non-profits or social service departments.

The Fellowship has set up new programmes in aid of purchasing food, clothing, baby care supplies and medication. This aid program was developed as a result of the large number of requests made by local social service departments around the country to the Fellowship.