One in Four Israelis Impoverished

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's National Insurance Institute (social security system) published a report on Monday indicating that one in four Israelis are living below the poverty line.

While poverty among the elderly showed little change and single parent families decreased by one percentage point, the study showed that the nation's poor have become poorer.

On a positive note, the report revealed that Israelis have been generally less affected by the global economic downturn.

The number of impoverished children has declined from 38.5 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2008, and poverty among Arab families dropped from 54 percent in 2006 to 49.4 percent in 2008.

The Institute attributed the decreased poverty levels in the Arab sector to increased employment opportunities.

"The current poverty report leaves no doubt as to the need to focus on encouraging employment, removing obstacles from workers' employment field and developing diverse programs for special populations. This is what I plan to do," said Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog.

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