YES

When it comes to Israel’s standings in regard to poverty rates, pure percentage statistics are often the only facts that are thrown out for the public to analyze. We constantly hear: 22%, 25%, 28%, 32%, etc. These are just some of the percentages we have seen over the last decade or so regarding Israeli poverty rates. Well, we would like to examine the current state of the Israeli economy to try and get a better understanding of why poverty rates are so high. Here are some major in-depth facts about Israeli poverty levels that are often never discussed.

Israel and the OECD

Though Israel’s economic situation is generally depicted in a positive light throughout the world, it is very misleading (to say the least). True, there are many high earners in Israel, however for every high earner, there is a disproportionate amount of people living on or below the poverty line. In fact, Israel is unfortunately in the top 3 countries in the OECD regarding income inequality.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Israel has been considered to be particularly expensive, especially over the past five plus years. For example, the cost of a 250g cottage cheese container rose to over $1.50 a few years ago. This was one of the factors that spurred the social protests in 2011. Now, you may be thinking to yourself: “well, that’s only one product.” However, that assumption would be wrong. Gas prices increased as did electricity and other non-elastic supplies.

Technology is Killing the Israeli Workforce

Yes – the one area that Israel excels at will, ironically, kill the Israeli workforce. It is only a matter of time until the “machines” (computers) take over. Many of the jobs out there on the market will eventually become automated. Five, ten, fifteen, even twenty years from now – it does not matter. It will happen in the not so distant future. This is extremely alarming given the fact that many people in Israel train for these types of jobs that will eventually become obsolete.

With more than a quarter of people in Israel living in poverty, the above facts don’t paint a very good picture about Israel’s long term economic stance, particularly regarding its poverty rates. In comparison to other OECD countries, it looks like Israel isn’t taking any active measures to reduce income inequality. Furthermore, while gas prices are currently cheap, the cost of living continues to skyrocket. Plus, gas prices fluctuate drastically and it is only a matter of time until they rise again. Lastly, Israel is a technology powerhouse. The chances of Israel taking action to reduce job automation in the future is minimal.