Documentary on Poverty Causes Uproar, Suicide Attempt

A 17-year-old girl involved in contradictory television and newspaper interviews about her family’s alleged poverty, tried to commit suicide yesterday. Mira Nadav was stopped by members of her family as she was about to drink a bottle of bleach in their one-and-a-half room apartment in the Nahalot slum quarter in central Jerusalem.

The girl, appearing on a TV documentary on poverty last Friday, told an interviewer that she went hungry. In a subsequent interview published in the newspaper Maariv, the girl said the TV interviewer had put words into her mouth and admitted that she had a regular job with a Jerusalem film projection firm. Maariv accused the TV news department of faking the poverty documentary, a charge vigorously denied by the TV news director.

Premier Golda Meir entered the controversy yesterday when she remarked publicly that existing social gaps did not justify a TV reporter faking a hunger situation. Welfare Minister Michael Hazani said on television yesterday that nobody in Israel goes hungry for lack of money because welfare and national insurance payments enable the poorest families to feed and clothe their children adequately.

The TV documentary which aroused national attention focussed on Mira Nadav and on the Shabtat family of 11 children which lives in a slum on a monthly per capita income of IL 100. Miss Nadav, on TV again Tuesday night, claimed the Maariv reporter had trapped her into an interview. Relatives attributed her suicide attempt to confusion and depression over being involved in a national controversy. Members of her family told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that she is quitting work for a few days to rest.

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