A healthier but poorer Israel

A sign at a demostration reads "50,000 holocaust survivors live underneath the poverty line," February 08, 2015. (Photo: Ben Kelmer/Flash90)

The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel published a report this week presenting its most recent study, Picture of the Nation 2017, making it clear that Israel’s current sources of economic growth are completely unsustainable.

While the study touched on positive subjects such as declining unemployment levels, development of the education system, increased expenditure on health and correlating improvement on overall wellbeing of Israelis, it conversely emphasized the higher rates of poverty and highlighted the overall declining welfare of the elderly who are not being cared for by the various authorities tasked with doing so.

The study echoes a report from the Shoresh Institute for Socioeconomic Research released in May showing that a majority of Israelis are living below the poverty line. In terms of disposable income, Israel is the poorest among all the OECD countries and was ranked 52nd in the world in 2016 in the level of difficulty in conducting business.

The Shoresh Institute studied the history of economic trends in Israel. Out of 34 countries, Israel ranks 22nd for GDP and 24th for market income poverty, but it is tied with Mexico at the very bottom of the list for disposable income poverty. This is the amount of money each individual has left after paying taxes and regular basic living expenses. Compared with other developing countries, Israel lags behind others in productivity, inequality and poverty rates.

The co-author of the report, Shoresh Institute Founder and Chairman Prof. Dan Ben-David, said the country has failed to reduce poverty because the government has not lowered taxes or payments to the social security system on which the whole population heavily relies.

Not covered in detail in the report is the cost of living index as well as cost of housing. A website with average yet conservative up-to-date prices shows that it is almost 15 percent more expensive to live in Israel than in the United States.

In addition to a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem please pray for her prosperity, as David wrote:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
“May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, “May peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
– Psalm 122:6-9