21.2% of Israelis Live Below the Poverty Line, Here’s What You Can do to Help

November 6, 2019

3 min read

According to recent statistics, 1.8 million Israelis – including 800,000 children – are currently living below the poverty line. This data was recorded in the annual report published by Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) back in December. The stats are based on information obtained by the Central Bureau of Statistics for 2017, the most recent year for which the data is available. The 2018 report will be released in December however speculators aren’t predicting any dramatic change.

And although the overall poverty rate increased from 18.5% in 2016, the percentage of actual families who live in poverty dropped from 28.8% in 2016 to 28.4% in 2017.

The percentage of children who live in poverty dipped from 31% in 2016 to 29.6% in 2017. But for the elderly, the rate increased from 20.8% in 2016 to 21.8% in 2017. Meanwhile poverty for new immigrants (who made aliyah since 1990) climbed from 17.0% in 2016 to 18.4% in 2017.

Everything combined, this means that Israel has the highest rate of poverty in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


No matter how you look at it, these figures are disturbing. This begs the question – How could it be that a nation who is still dusting off the ashes of the Holocaust is seeing over 20% of its citizens going to bed hungry?

Although there are many theories, what’s important to understand is what can be done about it right now. And although changing Israel’s economic model might help, it’s rather unrealistic to say the least. But what you can do is to simply..,Give. And there is one extremely important organization that is doing just that can help you do just that – Meir Panim (light of one’s face).

That’s because Meir Panim provides “Restaurant-Style” Soup Kitchens. These are essentially soup kitchens for the hungry but with the look and feel of a diner. They provide nearly half-a-million nutritious meals annually to impoverished Israelis as well as other innovative programs for the needy that Meir Panim offers.

A new initiative that this holy organization is currently running is a campaign called “Challah for Shabbat”. This means that on every Thursday, Meir Panim gives the traditional bumpy sweet-bread to needy families allowing them to observe the Shabat (sabbath) with dignity.

The tradition of having two rolls of Challah at a Shabbat meal is important as it signifies the double portion of manna that fell from the sky, just as it says in Exodus:

On the sixth day they gathered double the amount of food, two omers for each; and when all the chieftains of the community came and told Moshe, (Exodus 16:22)

And if you donate to this holy campaign, you will be fulfilling two Godly deeds: giving charity to the needy and enabling a Jew to celebrate the Sabbath in Israel as commanded in the Bible. This is an extremely important commandment as it states that those who violate the Sabbath must be put to death”

On six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Shabbat of complete rest, holy to Hashem; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death (Exodus 35:2)

In other words, now is your opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – save a life spiritually and feed the hungry, all at the same time. Don’t wait any longer.

Donate to this important cause today.

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