The Israeli Ministry of Welfare and Social Services claims that new initiatives have been put in place to reduce the increasing poverty.
"The government decided last year for the first time on a clear goal to reduce the poverty in Israel. A social economic agenda was formed based on a report by the National Organization for Economics headed by Professor Manuel Trachtenberg," said Nachum Ido, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services Office in Jerusalem.
By encouraging economic growth and improving education, science, technology and research and development in key sectors of the population, the government plans to ameliorate the situation by 2010. Theoretically, the plan is a good one -- especially for the most affected sectors of the population, the ultra-Orthodox and the Israeli Arabs. But for those who cannot afford to buy food today, two years is a long time to wait for the next meal.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the problem is the lack of attention it receives in the international and local media, whose coverage of Israel centers largely on nuclear threats from Iran, internal political turmoil and the wild success of the Israeli economy -- thanks largely to the high-tech industry.
With the shekel currently listed as the strongest currency in the world and the perceived economic growth despite close ties to the struggling American economy, the poverty is difficult to fathom. But for Abraham Israel, the founder and director of the Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network in Israel, it is grotesquely apparent.
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