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Report: Poverty will increase in Israel by 8-14% due to coronavirus

People protest against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in West Jerusalem on 12 December 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
People protest against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in West Jerusalem on 12 December 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

The incidence of poverty in Israel will increase by about eight to 14 per cent due to coronavirus, a report published by Taub Centre for Social Policy Studies in Israel.

Israeli Professor John Gal and Shavit Madhala carried out the research which revealed that: "It is estimated that until May 2020, the government's assistance systems helped reduce the increase in the incidence of poverty and inequality, which had been substantial, by about one-half."

However, they said, "the incidence of poverty will increase by about 8–14 percent and inequality will increase by about 1.5–4 percent."

The main victims of the crisis "are working families (who lost their jobs or whose salaries were reduced), single-parent families and young families."

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They reported a survey carried out by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), which found that "the economic deterioration occurred primarily among the working-age population and among about 50 percent of the Arab sector."

According to the Taub researchers, "about 21 percent of the participants [in the CBS survey] stated that they had cut back on the amount of food they consume or the number of meals they serve for economic reasons as a result of the crisis."

Professor John Gal said: "The crisis has forced the State's systems to invest significant financial resources and indeed we have seen a dramatic increase in welfare expenditure."

He added: "It is difficult to know how the crisis will influence the welfare of Israel's citizens over time; but there is no doubt that this outcome is dependent to a great extent on the government's willingness to continue the assistance programs intended to ease the distress of the unemployed and to help them reenter the labor market and find worthwhile employment."

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