YES

When it comes to poverty levels in Israel, people across the world have plenty to say. In fact, we have written in depth about the plight of hundreds of thousands of people across Israel. People outside of Israel are shocked. They frequently ask how a first world country, the Start Up Nation, can have the highest poverty rates among OECD countries. Though their voices are heard, it pales in comparison to the voices inside of Israel.

Unfortunately, there are many opinions here in Israel who point out that a large majority of the poverty population come from either the Ultra-Orthodox or Arab sectors – segments that have unusually high male unemployment rates. Though they are certainly right about this, they use these figures as the main reason behind the high poverty rates. This is misleading at best and wrong at worst.

While we have blogged about poverty many times, we have also gone into great detail about the statistics on a whole. There are a ton of examples in which Ultra-Orthodox and/or Arab males simply cannot work due to physical or mental illnesses. Yes, a portion choose not to work but there are thousands of people where this is not the case. Furthermore, a recent report backs up our theory that poverty in Israel isn’t mainly due to the Ultra-Orthodox and/or Arab population. This report showed some pretty alarming statistics: one in three senior citizens are giving up heat, food or medicine due to personal economic hardship.

The survey, which was conducted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews showed that nearly 20% of Israeli senior citizens do not use heat in the winter due to the absurdly high costs. The survey questioned a total of 400 people aged 65 or older. Moreover, it found that one in ten seniors are not using hot water at least 3 days a week and one in seven don’t go to their doctor’s checkup or purchase their prescription medication.

Here at Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, it is true that one of our primary focuses is delivering aid to children in need. However, we thankfully also have the means to help seniors in Israel due to your generous donations.