Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) officials on Sunday released some staggering poverty statistics, documenting 420,000 families in Israel classified as ‘poor’, living under the state-defined poverty line. They are the less fortunate of the 2,110,000 registered families nationwide. Of that number, 238,200 families designated as below the poverty line include children, about one-quarter of the total number of families with children in Israel. 783,600 children are living in poverty, representing one-third of the children in Israel.
The report adds that in 2009, there were 1,011,998 families with children, including some 2,416,703 children under 18. The agency pays a total of NIS 5.2 billion in child allowance payments.
Regarding the family makeup in 2009, 32% of the families have one child [below 18], 31% with two children, 20% with three children, 9% with four, 4% with five children, and 4% with six or more. In 2009, 160,000 babies were born including 3,500 sets of twins and 100 births including triplets or more.
Bituach Leumi reimbursed hospitals NIS 1.7 billion for admissions and NIS 2.2 billion in birth allowances for new parents. 98,000 new mothers were entitled to maternity leave payments from the agency.
According to the agency’s director-general, Esther Domenicini announced the agency is working to change the current procedure which compels a new mother to file for maternity leave payments, and which also requires an employer to complete paperwork. She wants to amend the system so that following childbirth, mothers will receive the payments automatically, without having to run around as is presently the case.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)