Welfare and Poverty

Helping the Poor Begins with Measuring Poverty Accurately The paper recommends transferring the responsibility for national poverty measurement from the Institute for National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) to a more objective institution, such as the Central Bureau of Statistics or the Bank of Israel. The paper notes several problems in the information recently published by Bituach Leumi in its annual "Report on the dimensions of poverty and social inequalities" for 2011.

Annual Report on Poverty reviews the National Insurance Insti­tute (NII) Report on poverty. This year, JIMS’ report shows that the NII poverty report is based on surveys of reported income in a given year not taking into account past or future earnings. According to this measure, 41% of the classified poor spend more than the poverty line. Some may be going into debt, but most of them probably do not belong to the ranks of the poor and do not require assistance from the welfare system.

A first ­ever examination of actual and long­term poverty in Israel reveals that statistics issued annually by the Institute for Social Security are misleading. JIMS' first annual Report on Poverty shows that Israel has made great strides in reducing poverty over the past ten years. Some of the findings of the report are: The number of people living under an absolute poverty line has fallen by 18.8% in 4 years In 2004, 18.1% were under the poverty line while in 2008, only 14.7% were. 

"The Wisconsin Program" currently called Orot Letasuka (Lights for Employment) in Israel was intended to assist the recipients of welfare grants to integrate in the labor market and reduce the extent of welfare grants that constitute a burden on the state treasury. According to the Ministry of Economy,  in the regions where the program is currently operating the number of those who receive income supplements has declined by 52% as opposed to a decline of only 7.2% in those regions where only the State Employment service is functioning.