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Decrease in Poverty-stricken Israelis is Questioned

A new report that shows fewer Israelis living in poverty is being questioned.

Israeli experts say the Poverty Report generated by the National Insurance Institute of Israel that was released Sunday is inaccurate due to the global financial crisis.

The report shows that in 2007, every fifth person and every third child — 1.63 million people, of which about 773,900 were children — lived in poverty. The percentage of Israelis living below the poverty line dropped slightly, to 19.9 percent from 20 percent in 2006.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Treasury said Sunday it would unveil a pension safety net plan as part of a revised economic stimulus package that will be presented to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. In an election season, the attorney general must review the plans before they are presented to the government to certify there is no pre-election impropriety. Israel is holding elections Feb. 10.

Still, the Histadrut labor union declared a labor dispute, the first step toward a strike, saying Sunday it was unhappy with the terms.

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