Child poverty in Israel among worst in developed nations: UNICEF
MENAHEM KAHANA (AFP/Archives)
Child poverty in Israel is among the highest in the world's most developed countries, surpassing Mexico and Chile, according to a report published by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday.
Israel's 27.5 percent child poverty rate puts it at the top of UNICEF's "Fairness for Children" report ranking inequality among children in 41 developed EU and OECD nations, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The report examines inequality in four key domains of child welfare - income, education, health, and life satisfaction - focusing on how far below average the nation's bottom ten percent of children fall.
“Understanding the differences among countries in how far the most disadvantaged children fall behind their average peers can provide some insight into the conditions or interventions that may help to reduce the gaps,” says Dr. Sarah Cook, director of UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Center in Florence, Italy.
Israel ranked 37 out of the 41 countries included in the report with regards to income inequality, meaning that the household income of a child in the bottom tenth percentile in Israel is almost 65 percent lower than that of the average child in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.
With a large proportion of 15-year-old students with below-average proficiency in reading, math, and science literacy, Israel also ranked among the lowest in terms of education equality.
Israel ranked last in health inequality, the Jerusalem Post reports, with children in Israel's bottom tenth percentile experiencing a health score 40 percent lower than the average child, and around 30 percent of children reporting one or more negative health symptom per day.
Israel also ranked at the bottom of developed nations in terms of inequality in life satisfaction, with the nation's bottom ten percent reporting 30 percent lower life satisfaction than average.
"As concern with high levels of inequality rises on the global policy agenda, our understanding of the long term impacts of inequality is also growing: what happens to children has life-long and even intergenerational consequences," said Cook.
"Any serious efforts to reduce inequality must place priority on children’s well-being today and ensure that all children are given opportunities to achieve their potential," she said.
Israeli politicians responded the the UNICEF report findings, with Joint List lawmaker Dov Henin blaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies for "endangering children’s lives," the Jerusalem Post reports.
“The poverty rate among Israeli children… is not our fate; it’s the result of a policy. Whoever cuts welfare services, privatizes the education system and dries out public health is knowingly leading to a reality in which children go to school hungry and parents have difficulty finding the money to pay for children’s dental care or textbooks,” the Post quotes Henin.
Knesset Committee on Children’s Rights chairman Yifat Shasha-Bitton called the report 'disconcerting,' The Jerusalem Post reports, adding that fighting poverty was a top priority for Finance Minister and her Kulanu party's leader Moshe Kahlon.
Eli Alalouf, Israel's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman, according to the Jerusalem Post, planned to call a meeting to discuss the report's "shocking" findings.
(Staff with agencies)
You need to be logged in in order to post comments. Sign up or log in
So, the over $3billion welfare that the wonderful US taxpayers give to Israel year on year isn't going on the Israeli poor ... probably spent on subjugation of the Palestinians in the area and militarily seizing even more of their land.
Per capita the Palestinians get more aid than any other group in the world...and look at them versus their leadership! What this UN-sponsored piece of tripe doesn't highlight is that Israel is the bastion of Jewish safety where Jews from both sides of the spectrum are fleeing for safety. Israel not only supports a huge proportion of its ultra orthodox population that lacks secular education and mainstream jobs, it also pays for the relocation of Jews from war torn or countries where their wellbeing is threatened. There is poverty and inequality in every country. Michael, it's a pity the Arabs continue to threaten Israel's safety. It's a pity the billions in aid over the years can't be allocated more proportionately outside of military projects that protect the life of Israelis.
James, US Foreign aid by country. The US gives 6 times as much per person to Israel than to the Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza .... Country Economic and Military Assistance FY 2014, $US millions Aid received per person recipient FY2014, $US Economic Assistance FY 2014, $US millions Military Assistance FY2014, $US millions Afghanistan 7244.14 229 2379.97 4864.17 Israel >3123.40 < 380 23.40 3100.00 Jordan 1136.84 172 790.57 346.27 Pakistan 980.87 5 716.69 264.18 Kenya 891.67 20 860.35 31.32 South Sudan 867.79 73 833.82 33.97 Syria 795.44 36 795.44 0 Ethiopia 742.17 8 736.59 5.58 Zambia 672.90 43 672.52 .38 Nigeria 593.04 3 585.04 8.00 Tanzania 589.37 11 582.30 7.07 Colombia 560.39 12 483.90 76.49 Uganda 557.27 15 526.65 30.62 South Africa 515.58 10 510.92 4.65 West Bank/Gaza >497.27< 116 497.15 0.12 Congo (Kinshasa) 438.56 6 428.01 10.56 Lebanon 433.85 95 347.32 86.54 Iraq 410.18 12 388.11 22.07 Somalia 402.20 38 266.35 135.85 Haiti 355.29 34 353.45 1.84 Mozambique 337.12 12 336.47 .65
Neil Gordon - "UN-sponsored piece of tripe"? No way to talk about Israel?