Israeli officials expressed concern on Thursday following the release of a UNICEF report saying that Israel has the highest levels of inequality among children in developed countries.
The report, called “Fairness for Children,” found that Israel has the highest child poverty rate among all the countries ranked, some 27.5 percent – worse than even Mexico and Chile.
In income inequality generally, Israel ranked 37 out of 41 countries belonging to the European Union and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Knesset Committee on Children’s Rights chairwoman Yifat Shasha-Bitton (Kulanu) said she found the report disconcerting, but that Finance Minister and Kulanu founder Moshe Kahlon has made fighting poverty a priority, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“We will continue to do all we can to make sure children in Israel and their families’ conditions will improve and be a source of pride,” she stated.
Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) said he plans to call a meeting about the UNICEF report.
“The report is shocking, and we must discuss it as soon as possible,” Alalouf said.
MK Dov Henin (Joint List) said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies are “endangering children’s lives.”
The report, issued by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), surveyed four main areas of child well-being – income, education, health, and life satisfaction.
“Understanding the differences among countries in how far the most disadvantaged children fall behind their average peers can provide some insight into the conditions or interventions that may help to reduce the gaps,” said Dr. Sarah Cook, Director of the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti.