More families are going without food and more children are forced to go begging, according to a report from the Latet Israeli Humanitarian Aid organization, released on Monday.
The 2012 Alternative Poverty Report from Latet, a non-government umbrella group for food aid organizations in Israel, found that 10 percent of children who live in impoverished families receiving support resorted to begging, up from just three percent in 2011. The report also found that 50% of children from struggling families were required to work in order to help maintain the household. Ultimately, 18% of at risk children dropped out of school to join the workforce instead.
Among those struggling to feed themselves, 27% of parents reported that they and their children had sometimes gone for a whole day without food, an increase from 21% in 2011. Nearly all the respondents, 95%, reported that they were required to give up on some basic items because of their financial situation and 63% said they were unable to buy drugs they need to maintain their health.
The acute problems among struggling families have a significant political influence. Among the general public who participated in the surveys that contributed to the report, 69% said that poverty is the most urgent problem facing the state, more important even than security. When it comes to choosing a party to vote for in the coming election, 56% said that policies on poverty will have a significant influence on their choice, and 42% cited the government as being most responsible for the current poverty situation.
The full report was scheduled to be presented at Latet’s annual conference on Monday, attended by candidates from political parties campaigning for the January 22 elections.
The report was based on information gathered by Latet’s research department together with aid organization directors, the Dahaf Institute and the Smith Institute. The combined surveys sampled 675 aid recipients, as well as 500 members of the general public and 100 charity directors.