COVID-19 has put almost every country in the world into a dizzying spin, spawning uncertainty, confusion, and worry about poverty, unemployment, and the economy. Israel is no exception.
Israel365 News recently covered a report published by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel that closely tracks trends in all of these aspects. They have just issued a 10,000 word report titled “In the Wake of COVID-19 – Important Questions for Israel in 2021 and Beyond” that will be read by the country’s leaders and decision-makers.
The team of researchers has mapped out challenges and opportunities expected in the coming years in the fields of macroeconomics, the labor market, and welfare among others.
The following are several daunting challenges for Israel’s economy:
The national debt: In 2020, the national debt increased to 72% of GDP, and it is expected to grow even more, the team predicted. This ratio of debt to GDP sets Israel back by more than a decade.
The deficit: Last year, government spending increased by 22.5%, and the cumulative annual expenditure reached about 35% of GDP, while revenue fell to about 23% – a gap that created a deficit of almost 12%. It is important, they wrote, to bring the deficit back to its mid-decade levels; the question is how this will be done. It seems that there will be no choice but to raise taxes.
Deepening poverty and inequality: The welfare system has been successful in providing a safety net for many citizens and reduced the incidence of poverty by about half in 2020. As the crisis ends, however, there is a danger that the system will return to the pre-crisis situation and even regress, given expected demands for budget cuts. This will lead to a deepening of distress among those who live in poverty and need assistance.
There’s no doubt that the brunt of this bleak economic outlook will fall squarely on the shoulders of Israel’s poor.
But, fortunately, one organization is preparing for that precise scenario.
Colel Chabad provides food to Israel’s poverty-stricken community. They do this with a wide-range distribution channel of food cards to families in the Jewish State who need it the most.
Their mission is vital. But their funding comes from private donors – many of whom were affected by the economic situation themselves and cannot provide the same level of support as in the past.
That’s why they are now turning to friends of Israel worldwide to step up.
Can you help prevent an Israeli family from going to sleep hungry?
If the answer is yes, simply make a donation, big or small, to the Colel Chabad organization today.
Help Israel fight the real pandemic – poverty.