Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Israel is now a developed nation, but poverty is still widespread

Israel is about to enter the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD entry for Israel means that the world will recognize the country as a developed economy instead of an emerging one. The new classification will help it's stature with foreign investors. Despite the new designation for Israel, poverty still looms large within it's population.

From this AFP article that we found at Google News, writer Steve Weizman gives us these new statistics for Israel.

By the OECD's definition, 20 percent of Israel's population of 7.6 million currently live below the poverty line -- more than in any member state.

And about 40 percent of people of working age have no jobs, compared to about 33 percent in OECD countries, the organisation reported in January.

This is largely due to cultural traditions among Israel's large Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish minorities -- each of which has low participation in the workforce but higher than average birthrates.

"All told, nearly half of children entering primary school belong to one or other of these communities," the OECD said.

"Israel will have to take action on a number of fronts including education, training, childcare, support for jobseekers and working conditions if it is to ensure these children do not inherit their parents? economic disadvantage," the OECD said.

Jerusalem's Taub Center for Social Policy Studies said the current trend must change, or Israel will find it hard to survive.

"In order for tomorrow's adults to be employed 30 years from now, then today's pupils need to receive an education befitting the needs of a modern economy," it said last week.

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