Eight months after it was set up, the Committee on Reducing Poverty in Israel will submit its recommendations to Minister of Welfare Meir Cohen today. The committee, chaired by Israel Prize laureate Eli Allalouf, recommends a long series of measures, the estimated annual cost of which is NIS 6.5 billion. Israel currently has one of the highest rates of poverty among the OECD member countries. The committee says that if its recommendations are adopted in full, the rate of poverty in Israel will fall to the OECD average within a decade. Its report states that, in order to reach this ambitious goal, at least some of the recommendation will need to be implemented as early as the 2015 budget.
The Allalouf committee has no fewer than 50 members, among them representatives of government ministries, academics, and representatives of local authorities and of the third sector. The committee members worked on several sub-committees dealing with all aspects of poverty, from infancy to old age. The recommendations relate to social security and the various welfare payments, employment and education, health, and housing.
The issue that caused most controversy on the committee was welfare payments and their place in the fight against poverty. The controversy left its mark on the final recommendations: the committee members recommend not only raising income supplement payments for old age pensioners, but to raise the income supplement across the board for all recipients. The report stresses that this recommendation is opposed to the stance of the committee chairman, the Bank of Israel, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the prime minister.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 23, 2014
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