Today the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which monitors economic well-being among 39 countries of the developed world, released its 2013 findings.
It found that Israel’s poverty rate of 20.9% was the highest of all member states. Israel’s nearest “competitor” was Mexico at 20.4%. Anyone who has visited Mexico understands how severe the problem is there. in Israel, it’s worse. Even Spain and Greece suffering from severe recession have far lower rates. The average poverty rate for all OECD countries is 11.1%. The OECD also found that Israel had the fifth largest income disparity.
Some other salient statistics: the child poverty rate average for all OECD nations is 13.3%. For Israel, it is 28.8%. Israel had the 4th largest rise in child poverty between 2007-2011.
I marvel at the comments of some here when they read these statistics, who claim that Israel’s economic numbers are depressed by Haredi men and Israeli Palestinian women who deliberately absent themselves from the country’s economic system. The problem with this approach is that the OECD statistical tables correctly blame a nation and not individual citizens if they are left out of the system. It is up to the nation to ensure economic benefits are available to all.
In other words, contrary to what the some would have us believe, people by and large don’t embrace poverty as their destiny. Nor may nations sentence entire segments of their population to such a fate without it being reflected in the OECD tables. Many other nations have found ways to spread economic benefits more equitably. In fact, Israel used to have such a system.