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Fellowship responds to annual government report showing slight drop in poverty levels

JERUSALEM, Dec. 6, 2017 – The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) welcomed signs that poverty in Israel is decreasing, but said the government must still do more to help the most vulnerable citizens of the Jewish state, in response to the government’s annual poverty report released today.

The Fellowship, supported by millions of evangelical Christians worldwide, is the largest nonprofit in Israel providing aid to Israel’s poorest, including the elderly and Holocaust survivors, new immigrants, and Christian and Druze minorities.

“While we are grateful that some steps the government has taken to alleviate poverty have made an impact, the government must accept its responsibility to provide a safety net for our society’s weakest members,” said The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

The annual report on poverty by Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and the National Insurance institute released today showed that general poverty levels fell slightly by half a percentage point in 2016, mostly due to stepped up government assistance including raising the minimum wage and increasing pensions. Working families showed a slight decrease in poverty levels with 28.9 percent of Israel’s families living in poverty (compared to 29.2 percent the previous year). Israel remains at the bottom of the OECD’s rankings of poverty among developed nations.

“The slight improvement in poverty levels is proof that government investment in helping society’s weakest pays off, but there is still a long way to go,” Eckstein added. “The government must make eradicating poverty a top priority by further increasing pensions for the elderly and the disabled, and helping raise wages so that working families can support themselves in dignity. The government should also invest further in education and job growth, especially in Israel’s periphery and among minorities.”

About The Fellowship:

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide – and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.4 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.

For further details, contact: Ryan Greiss, Puder PR, New York: (212) 558-9400; [email protected]

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