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Nonprofit ‘Latet’: Year Lost in Israeli War on Poverty Due to Political Stalemate
People dine in the Lasova soup kitchen in Tel Aviv,, September 2019. - With the lowest unemployment rate in the Mediterranean, Israel can give the impression of having achieved an economic miracle. But its growth can obscure a darker side in poorer neighborhoods where families' struggles with the cost of living are acute. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

Nonprofit ‘Latet’: Year Lost in Israeli War on Poverty Due to Political Stalemate

More than 2.3 million Israelis – over 25% of the population – are living in poverty, including one million children, according to the annual report published Monday by the Israeli nonprofit aid organization Latet. The organization measures poverty based on a family’s ability to satisfy essential needs such as food, housing, education, and health care, whereas the government, in its report on poverty published annually by the National Insurance Institute, measures poverty based on income alone. Latet’s chairman, Gilles Darmon, and its executive director, Eran Weintrob, charged in a joint statement that “for many years, Israeli governments have maintained poverty through a poor set of priorities.” They referred to the past 12 months as a “lost year” as far as government plans to reduce poverty are concerned. This was due to the freezing of budgets – a result of the ongoing political stalemate that is likely to send the country back to elections in March for an unprecedented third time in less than a year. “Frequent and continuous election campaigns, a paralyzed Knesset and a transitional government that cannot govern have lost us a year. The stagnation in poverty rates over a long period attest to that,” Darmon and Weintrob said in their statement.

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