Israeli children and families are paying the price — literally — of defense from Arab terrorism, as reflected in 2014 data released Wednesday.
According to the figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 1.7 million Israelis are living in poverty — about 22 percent of the population — including 776,500 Israeli children.
The data appeared in the annual poverty report released Wednesday by National Insurance Institute head Professor Shlomo Mor Yosef and Social Services Minister Haim Katz.
The report, which quoted CBS data collected in 2014, showed that 1,709,300 people — including 444,900 families — are living below the poverty line.
A single individual is considered to be living below the poverty line with a monthly income of NIS 3,077 or $200 per week, give or take a few shekels. A family of five is classified “below the poverty line” at a monthly salary level of NIS 9,230 and under; a couple who earns less than NIS 4,923 per month is also living below the poverty line.
Approximately 17.5 percent of Israel’s poverty-stricken families are hareidi-religious Jews, according to the report, and the poverty rate in that sector of the population is a stunning 54.3 percent.
Despite the dark numbers, the growth in poverty appears to have slowed at least somewhat. The poverty line reported rose by 2.4 percent in 2014, as did the disposable median income per capita.
Nevertheless, the poverty severity index increased by 10 percent in 2014. It is worth pointing out that Israel was forced once again last year to arm and defend itself against thousands of rocket, missile and mortar attacks during the summer war with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group and its terrorist allies.
That nightmare not only cost the Jewish State billions of desperately-needed dollars; it also cost the country in terms of injured and severely, permanently traumatized children, their parents and other Israeli adults.Hana Levi Julian