This is the second in a series of Partners for Progressive Israel podcasts on the upcoming Israeli elections. In this episode, I speak with Ran Cohen about Israel‘s economy and society. Cohen served in the Knesset for 25 year, first for Ratz and then Meretz. He was the Minister of Labor and Industry in Ehud Barak’s government. Currently he heads the Standard Institute of Israel. A necessary disclosure: Ran was my hero growing up.
The newspaper Calcalist has been conducting research for several years asking people “If you suddenly encounter an unplanned expenditure of 8,000 shekels [$2000] (the car broke down, sudden dental problem, etc.), would you be able to cover the expense either from your own savings or borrowing from family and friends or a credit card loan?” 70 percent of Israeli families said that they would not be able or would have significant difficulties covering the expense. This percentage has been growing gradually every year. This means that 70 percent of the Israeli public are experiencing economic insecurity – if the refrigerator breaks they would be unable to replace it.
Moreover, a significant portion of Israeli society suffers from food insecurity. The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel indicates that 30% of Israel’s citizens forgo dairy, fruits and vegetables. Among the Arab population, 47% of households suffer food insecurity.
I hope you enjoy the interview.