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Israel faces crisis of growing poverty

Israel's new national committee on poverty has been asked to propose a comprehensive solution to the alarming increase in Israeli families living below the poverty line, most of them working poor.
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man begs for change as he sits on a sidewalk in Jerusalem March 26, 2006. A growing number of Israelis live beneath the poverty line, many of them ultra-Orthodox Jews, immigrants and elderly. Poverty is a prominent issue in Israel's campaign for a March 28 parliamentary election. Picture taken march 26, 2006.   REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTR17NNS

What chances does an impoverished individual have to extricate himself from poverty? And what are the chances that a child growing up in an impoverished family can achieve as much as a child growing up in wealthy family? Are the odds the same for both? Can a society continue to exist indefinitely when there are large gaps between the rich and the poor?

These days, many Israelis are keeping a close eye on a discussion by many wise people looking to find answers to questions that haunt society like a black cloud: Is it possible to fight poverty and defeat it? Is poverty an unavoidable part of life? How can we build a bridge between those who have a great deal of capital and those who don’t have enough to live a decent life?

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