Chessed Group: Israel Pesach Costs Harder on Poor, Middle Class This Year

Ultra orthodox man carry food products which is collected and then given away by Hasidic ultra orthodox, as part of the Passover customs called "Kimcha De Pascha" in the ultra orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem. April 19, 2016. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** çøãéí ôñç ÷îçà ãôñçà çìå÷ú îæåï îàä ùòøéí çøãéí
Men carry food products at a local Kimcha Depischa in Yerushalayim, Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A poll by chessed organization Chasdei Naomi shows that as many as a quarter of Israelis – and half of residents of the south – will buy less for Pesach than they would like or need because of the high cost of living. A quarter of observant Jews will request assistance of some kind from chessed organizations. And even in Tel Aviv, nearly a third of residents say they do not have enough money for everything they need for Pesach.

The poll by the well-known chessed group was taken by the Rafi Smith organization shows that many Israelis are feeling the economic pinch this year – and a third are purchasing less than they did in the past because of it. In southern Israel, 50 percent of respondents said that they would spend less this year than last, compared to only a quarter of residents of the north.

In Tel Aviv and Haifa, residents said that they would spend less on fish and meat, while for residents of more prosperous suburbs in the Sharon, that number was 8 percent. In Yerushalayim, respondents said they were prepared to spend higher amounts, but many said that they would need assistance from chessed groups, given the economic situation.

In general, observant Jews spend more on Pesach foods. 57 percent of observant Jews said that they would spend about NIS 1200 ($420) on holiday items, while only 16 percent  of those who consider themselves secular would spend amounts that high.

Chasdei Naomi director Moshe Cohen said that “the results of the poll raise concerns, and require us to put our best minds to solving the issue. Chasdei Naomi will continue to lead the efforts to provide tens of thousands of people with food products. But even for organizations such as ours, the situation is difficult, in the face of the poverty apocalypse we are facing.”