JERUSALEM (JTA) — One-third of Israelis are at risk of poverty, a new Israeli government report shows.
The Central Bureau of Statistics report issued Wednesday shows that some 31 percent of Israelis were at risk of poverty in 2010, compared to 27 percent 12 years ago. Some 16 percent of European Union residents fall into the category.
Being at risk of poverty means that one’s household’s per capita income is less than 60 percent of the median disposable income. Israel’s poverty line was at $506 for 2010. The amount to be labeled at risk of poverty is anything less than $610.
Released ahead of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the data also show that 40 percent of Israeli children were at risk of poverty, compared to 20 percent in the EU.
The report also found that 32 percent of Jewish households in Israel said they were unable to cover all monthly expenses, such as food, electricity and telephone bills, and 8 percent could not reach the end of the month without incurring debt.
"Alongside concerns about those who are living in poverty, we see that a high proportion of working Israelis are not managing to make ends meet," Yisrael Livman, founder and director of Mekimi, a nonprofit organization that advises and assists Israelis in financial crisis, said in a statement.
"Many of the people we assist are working six days a week, serving their Reserve duty in the Army, and bringing up large families. A sudden change in circumstances, such as illness, failure of a business or unexpected unemployment, can cause a major financial crisis for the entire family."