“This report is a warning light to Israel. We must make children our focus to prevent further deterioration and bring about long-term change,” Jonny Cline, UNICEF’s Israel office executive director, reportedly said. A large number of the poor children, however, are members of haredi families whose male adult members refuse to work.
UNICEF: Israel Has 4th Highest Child Poverty Rate In The Developed World
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A new United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report has found that Israel has the fourth-highest child poverty rate in the developed world.
The UNICEF report, “Children of the recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries,” found that child poverty in Israel increased from 35.1 percent to 35.6% from 2008 and 2013, ranking Israel fourth worst in the developed world behind Greece (40.5%), Latvia (38.2%), and Spain (36.3%), the Times of Israel reported based on a report in the Hebrew language Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Achranot.
An estimated 76.5 million children in the n the 41 countries developed world live in poverty – an increase of 2.6 million since 2008, the report found.
The report also found that Israel has the highest rate of young adults aged 15-24 who are not enrolled in a school, training program or employed – 30.7 percent. A large number of those, however, are likely serving in the IDF.
“This report is a warning light to Israel. We must make children our focus to prevent further deterioration and bring about long-term change,” Jonny Cline, UNICEF’s Israel office executive director, reportedly told Yediot Achranot today.
Out of the 41 countries surveyed, 23 – almost all in the Mediterranean region – had large increases in child poverty rates.
Israel’s high rate of child poverty is caused in large part by persistent anti-Arab discrimination and by the haredi community’s refusal to work and by its rabbinic leaders’ ban on secular education.
Instead, tens of thousands of haredi men opt to study full time in yeshivas well into middle age. Haredi grade school, middle school and high school level schools – especially male-only schools – teach little or no secular studies. And haredi rabbis have effectively banned most haredim from getting higher education. All of this causes extreme haredi poverty, which was deepened when the government decided to partially cut some of the welfare benefits and child allowances these haredi yeshiva students and their families rely on.
But even after those cuts, haredi rabbinic leaders have refused to change their anti-secular-education policy.