Israel’s Hungry English Speakers

With poverty rates in Israel rising, so too are the numbers of hungry English-speaking immigrants relying on food aid organizations, especially during holidays like Succot.

from The Jerusalem Post:

Feeding the ‘Anglo’ poor

… according to the latest figures from the National Insurance Institute (NII) released last fall, one in four Israelis lives below the poverty line and, although there are no specific statistics, those working for numerous food aid charities around the country say that the English-speaking community is not immune from the problem.

“It is very difficult for immigrants from Anglo countries to admit that they have sunk to the same levels as immigrants from poorer countries such as Ethiopia or Russia,” says Joseph Gitler, founder and executive director of Israel’s newly-formed national food bank Leket, previously the food-collecting agency Table to Table, which gathers and distributes left-over food from agriculture, restaurants, malls, businesses and banquet halls to the needy.

“People from the Anglo community come here and they are in shock that life is so hard and that it is so difficult to make a living,” Gitler says. “But there is no question of them giving up and going back; there is this mentality that those who come here and do not make it are looked down upon.”

… While there are no official figures for the Anglo community, research undertaken for this article shows that there are a significant number of English speaking families in most urban communities who are forced to rely on food aid agencies for basic staples and other charitable support.

image courtesy Leket