UN: Israel Failing Disadvantaged Children

An ultra-orthodox man gives money to a Palestinian street beggar during the Pesach (Passover) holiday in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 6, 2015.

TEL AVIV – Of wealthy nations, Israel has some of the widest gaps between children from middle household income levels and those from lowest income levels, a new UN study found.

The UNICEF report ranked the well-being of children in 41 high-income countries to show the widening disparities between the lowest and middle income brackets.

UNICEF said the purpose of the study was to “highlight how far children are falling behind in the dimensions of income, education, health, and life satisfaction.”

Incomes below the median were increasing at a much slower rate than those above it, which, according to UNICEF, fuels “increases in poverty and deprivation among children.”

The report shows income inequality has increased significantly in a third of the countries studied between 2008-2013.

“Countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, and Switzerland do best overall, while countries like the United Kingdom and the United States are right in the middle,” said UNICEF social policy economic specialist Yekaterina Chzhen.

He added that Israel is at the bottom of the overall ranking alongside Turkey, Bulgaria and Italy, with large inequality gaps between children at the low end of income distribution and those in the middle.

The study found inequality gaps in educational achievement have narrowed while inequality in children’s health has increased in almost all countries.

There have been some improvements in healthier eating among poor children in most of the countries examined.

The household income disparity in the U.S. between the poorest children and those in the middle is nearly 59 percent.


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