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poverty

  • Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, demolitions, and exile

    As nationalist Israelis celebrate the 'unification' of the city, when Israeli troops occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, a look at the data shows a far bleaker picture of life for Jerusalem's Palestinian residents. The following is a collection of facts, figures, and statistics about Jerusalem compiled and published on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day.” Nationalist Israelis mark Jerusalem Day on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967. The celebrations include the “march of the flags,” where flag-bearing Jewish revelers march through the Palestinian neighborhoods of the Old City, chanting racist, violent…

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  • A patriotic death, not only on the battlefield

    Israeli economic and social policies are turning a growing number of people into a burden, a surplus cost that can be saved by withdrawing benefits and tightening up welfare criteria. These people are branded as work-shy, cheats and parasites. Against this background, it is clear that even though the National Program for the Prevention of Suicide meets a critical need, it is also emblematic of the government’s cynicism. By Yossi Loss (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey, edited by Amy Asher) In his first book, published in 1952 in two different editions and under two different titles (Utopia 14 and…

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  • Poverty kills: Survival and struggle in 'the other Israel'

    No matter how much I look, I never seem to find any news items about those whom Israeli society sacrifices on a daily basis, slowly, until they turn to dust. By Yael Cohen-Rimer (translated by Yudit Ilani and Shaked Spier) She is somewhere outside, the 13-year-old girl who was sent by welfare services to step over the dried blood at the entrance to the building floor. This blood reminds her of her mother, who jumped out of the front window about a week ago. So far, no one from the welfare services has come to talk with the girl or…

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  • WATCH: In Israel, the ruble’s collapse hits hard for elderly Russian Jews

    Today’s generation of older immigrants from the former Soviet Union worked their whole lives — 30 years in Russia and 20 years in Israel. Up until six months ago, their pensions from Russia helped them stay above water. Since the sharp decline of the Russian ruble, however, many of them are now forced to survive on NIS 3,000 ($760) a month. The Israeli government has plans to help, but where’s the money?

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  • Small gods with big sticks at the unemployment office

    How is it that a civil servant's whim, impression or impulse can shatter an entire family's lives? Some people, pushed and pushed into the corner, can't take it anymore. By Yudit Ilany When the Israeli Employment Service (the unemployment office) registers somebody as "uncooperative," all social security payments are automatically suspended for two months. This procedure is commonly known as “refusal.” Refusal snowballs single-parent families straight into an avalanche of poverty and distress, from which there is no salvation but death. September the 22nd was a tough day, during which many women from Jaffa encountered refusals. The 28th of each…

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  • Be'er Sheva, a city with no refuge from rockets

    In Be'er Sheva, there are two kinds of people: those who sit protected in their shelters, calling for the occupation of Gaza, and the thousands of people who, living in buildings that crumble around them and with nowhere to run, just wait for the end. I live in such a building. Conversations with residents who have no refuge from the rockets. By Daniel Beller (translated from Hebrew by Noam Shemtov) The city of Be'er Sheva on Friday night got a reminder of why it needs a little less pride and lot more protection, especially for the weak: a rocket hit a…

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  • Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, segregation and discrimination

    The following is a collection of facts and figures about Jerusalem, compiled and published on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day.” Nationalist Israelis mark Jerusalem Day on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967. The celebrations include the “march of the flags,” where flag-bearing Jewish revelers march through the Palestinian neighborhoods of the Old City, often times while chanting racist, violent and ultra-nationalistic slogans. Any counter protest by Palestinian residents of the neighborhoods is rarely tolerated by police. While Jewish Israelis celebrate the "reunification" of Jerusalem, data shows that the city…

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  • A failed revolution: Why Israel's next social protest will be a violent one

    The next social protest will be violent because the demand will no longer be for change but for a revolution - and revolutions are violent by nature. Two years after Israel's social protests, poverty is only increasing, a small number of people control the economy and politicians are still ignoring the grievances of those who elected them. By Ilan Manor The next social protect in Israel will be a violent one, and not simply because the last one failed. The next protest will be violent because of the social stagnation that currently characterizes Israeli society, a stagnation that prevents social…

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  • Poverty in the IDF: Thousands jailed for economically motivated desertion

    On Friday, Channel 2 News aired a story of unique importance, offering a glimpse into the world of the financial difficulties faced by Israeli soldiers. A soldier from the notorious Kfir Brigade, which is often accused of brutal treatment of Palestinians, testified that 9 out of 10 soldiers need financial support, and a Knesset report indicated that thousands of soldiers desert  for financial reasons each year. I first met these soldiers when I myself was in prison for refusing the draft, about 10 years ago. One after another my cellmates would talk about poverty in their homes, how their parents…

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  • Lapid's plan to tax fruits and vegetables harms society's weakest members

    If passed as is, Finance Minister Lapid's new budget would increase the price of produce by 18 percent. VAT and sales taxes on produce are rare in the Western world because they disproportionately harm the poorest and weakest segments of society, which is exactly what Lapid's proposal stands to do. It may seem like small potatoes, but Finance Minister Yair Lapid's proposal to levy the Value Added Tax (VAT) on fruits and vegetables is one of the most harmful proposals he could make when it comes to the poor, and for public health. In 2011, 18.7 percent of Israelis did…

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