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A Threat from Within
By Jane Eisner
Forward Association, August 18, 2010
In May 2010, Israel was invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a 31-nation club of the world’s most elite, developed economies. Acceptance means that Israel can now access sources of capital investment available only to developed countries. But it means something even more rewarding: It’s a legitimization of the tiny country’s economic strength and innovation capacity.
But the “start-up nation” narrative hides another story: Poverty in Israel is more widespread than in any of the other OECD countries, worse than even Turkey and Mexico. Almost one in five Israelis live in poverty, according to OECD guidelines; for children, the rate is nearly one in three. This economic inequality, among the highest in the world, poses a serious danger to Israeli society beyond that caused by war or terrorism. Poverty in Israel is a direct result of non-employment, the fact that many Israelis will not or cannot work. The two largest segments of citizens outside the labor force are Haredi men, 67% of whom study full-time, helped by government subsidy, and Arab women, 80% of whom are at home, prevented by culture and discrimination from participating in the workforce. A government report issued in July said that Haredi unemployment alone will cost the Israeli economy $1.55 billion in 2010 — 300% higher than the comparable cost in 2000.
Part 2 of this series is available here.
Name of Publication: Jewish Daily Forward
Editor: Eisner, Jane
Copyright Holder: Publisher
Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link
Eisner, Jane. A Threat from Within. Jewish Daily Forward. Forward Association. 18 August 2010: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=11669
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