One out of every five families in Israel lives in poverty and the number of poor people in Israel is on the rise, according to an annual report released by the National Insurance Institute on Thursday.
The report showed that Israel's economic recovery had not reached all segments of the population. In 2011, more than 440,000 families (more than 1.8 million people, including more than 860,000 children) were officially living in poverty.
The report also showed that the proportion of working families living in poverty was growing, even in families with two or more wage earners, a segment of the population previously thought to be immune to poverty.
It showed that Israel continued to have one of the highest levels of poverty and income disparity among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.
Outgoing Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon said that poverty reduction goals had to be set.
"The time has come to stop this," Kahlon, who has announced his retirement from politics, said in response to the report. "Poverty is not a decree of fate."
Eran Weintraub, the head of the Latet aid organization, said that Israeli governments, both past and present, had failed to combat poverty.
"The proof of this is that there is still no government plan with the goal of dealing with this issue," Weintraub said.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said, "Israeli governments have no interest in reducing poverty, even though an election campaign is currently underway in which all the parties and candidates are presenting themselves as 'social.'"