Since Independence, Israel has worked vigorously to transition from its roots as a struggling country of refugees and transform into a cutting-edge start-up nation. While this hard-earned success has greatly improved the lives of so many, Israel’s image as a hi-tech global leader often overshadows the difficulties of those left behind as the country has made significant strides forward.
According to a 2018 OECD report, Israel has the highest rate of disposable income gap amongst its member states. This financial disparity is especially evident the southern periphery city of Be’er Sheva, which still contends with the residual socio-economic problems that the region has been confronting for decades, coupled with limited expansion relative to Israel’s Central region. While costs of living have significantly increased nationwide, statistics provided by the Ministry of Labor in July 2018 show high rates of unemployment in our city and that a third of those residents currently working do not even earn the national minimum wage. Moreover, a recent study by Myers-JDC-Brookdale notes that Israel’s poverty rates for both families and children are the highest among developed countries, there is a significant increase in those categorized as ‘working poor’, poverty is rising among single-parent families and the gender gap is steadily growing in Israel, leading to higher rates of women living in poverty.
At Be’er-Sova we have been seeing these economic trends express themselves amongst our community in very real, concrete manners, with vulnerable members of Israeli society turning to us to meet the most basic of human needs, nutrition.
Further information regarding Israel’s socio-economic situation:
The Taub Center: Poverty and Inequality in Israel