Understanding Hunger

Hunger is a fact of life. Virtually no country on earth is free of poverty and its myriad causes – disease, mental illness, death of a breadwinner, unemployment, recently arrived refugee. That Israel has a significant percentage of individuals and families who live at or below the poverty line is hardly surprising.

After all, it is a young country with a huge immigrant population, a significant number of Holocaust survivors, and a great deal of inherited emotional pathology in the second and third generation of traumatized immigrants who escaped the Holocaust, expulsion from Arab lands, and immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

“Thank G-d, we are blessed with good health but this past winter my husband lost his job and hasn’t yet found a proper job,” said Ilanit from Beit Shean. “We were fortunate to receive assistance last Pesach from Colel Chabad, and we look forward to this Rosh Hashanah to once again get the help for us celebrate the chag in a respectable way.”

Hunger Facts & Poverty Statistics

Israel is the land of “Milk and Honey”. But for 1 in 5 people in Israel, hunger is a very real struggle. Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different.

Right now, 1.7 million Israelis are at risk of hunger. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot always make ends meet and may be forced to go without food.

It’s time to educate ourselves about the causes of hunger in Israel.

Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same.  Unemployment rather than poverty is a stronger predictor of food insecurity.

Long-term unemployment, persistent underemployment and the high cost of food, gas, utilities and rent are forcing more and more people to seek emergency food.

The need for emergency food is unprecedented. For the third year in a row, Pantry Packers distributed more than 1 million emergency food boxes in Israel.