Food insecurity isn’t a new issue in Israel, but the data to prove its existence hasn’t always been available. In 2011 (much to our delight), the Israel National Insurance Institute released a report on Poverty and Social Gaps. This extensive report gave our hunches hard numbers.
In Israel, as in most developed countries, food insecurity is almost always a result of poverty – the lack of means with which to purchase food. According to the report, 25% of Israeli adults and 36% of Israeli children are below the poverty line. (Israel measures poverty as relative to the standard of living across the whole population.)
“If you are needy in Israel, you probably rely on the weekly box of staples. Your family usually skips breakfast, and the best lunch you can provide for your child – if you can provide any – is white pita bread with a spread (the classic being chocolate spread). If you are lucky, your child is in one of the charity-operated after-school programs that include a meal.” – Christina Hecht
Just like those who are food insecure in America, the food insecure in Israel are forced to make tough choices between buying groceries and paying for other necessities like rent or heat. Unlike America though, the food assistance they receive is limited to a weekly box of food from local charitable organizations. Despite this aid, at least one in ten Israelis still doesn’t have enough food.