Some 2.3 million Israelis, including one million children, live under the poverty line and more are going hungry than previous years, according to a report released on Monday.
The annual report by the Latet organization, which provides various welfare and food aid services, found that nearly one-fifth of Israelis (18.5 percent, over 1.6 million people) suffer from food insecurity, a 2-point increase over last year.
Among those receiving food from welfare organizations, 29.4% reported weight loss due to their inability to purchase food items, and 12% said they rummaged through garbage bins for scraps (up from 9% a year earlier).
Some 27.9% of the recipients who receive food aid interviewed for the report said their children always or frequently went to school without lunch, in a dramatic 16-point jump from 2018. The overwhelming majority (79.8%) of those who receive food aid have at least one employed household provider, while one-fifth have two or more members of the family who are working.
The Latet report recorded 2.3 million Israelis (25.6%) living under the poverty line, including 1 million children who represent one-third of all children in the country. That marked a slight improvement over last year’s Latet report, which said 26.5% of Israelis were poor.
The report also said 66% of those receiving help from welfare organizations could not afford certain medicines or medical care, half (49%) could not afford to heat their homes, and most (87%) could not afford after-school activities or trips for their school-age children.
The annual report by Latet is a private initiative and its figures are not official.
The National Insurance Institute has yet to release its 2018 report on the year prior. In its report on 2016, the last to be published, it said some 1.8 million Israelis, including 842,300 children, were living in poverty.