Research

Israel – A Social Report 2022: The Inequality Epidemic Still Rages

Photo: Shaula Heitner

The figures presented in the report reflect the first chapters of the story of the epidemic, which is also a story of the widening of inequality in Israel and elsewhere

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At present (April 2022), the socio-economic picture of the whole world is changing before our very eyes, against the background of the war raging in eastern Europe. Russia and the Ukraine, both major players in the world grain and energy markets, are fighting a war that will probably affect the economic activity and the public agenda in many countries. While Israel is not close to the battle arena, it is part of the international trade networks of the two combatants and as such, its economy cannot but feel the brunt; for example, fuel and food prices will be impacted, and with them, the size of households’ disposable income.

The nature of socio-economic data is that they become known with the passage of time – some after a few months and others after a year or two or more. In the meantime, the latest socioeconomic data for Israel published by state institutions – the Bank of Israel, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the National Insurance Institute (NII) – are, at best, for 2021, while some are for 2020 and others for 2019.

And during those years, we were subject to another worldwide crisis with socio-economic implications – the Corona epidemic. That epidemic, which has yet to run its course, though it was shunted to the margins of the news by the sights and sounds of the Russian war against the Ukraine, caused the death of millions, the closure of numerous businesses, unemployment rates unknown since the 1929 crash, as well as huge government outlays for aid to individuals and businesses and, of course, on health.

At the same time there were individuals who not only were not adversely affected during the Corona crisis, but actually profited.

This was the case of the ten richest persons in the world, whose combined worth prior to the epidemic stood at 700 billion dollars, a sum that had doubled by 2022 to 1.5 trillion dollars.

Israel’s wealthy partake of the same phenomenon: according to the financial newspaper “The Marker,” the wealth of the 500 richest persons in Israel quadrupled over the last four years and grew by 32% between 2020 and 2021.

The figures presented below reflect the first chapters of the story of the epidemic, which is also a story of the widening of inequality in Israel and elsewhere. This, in hope that the war currently raging in eastern Europe ends quickly and will not become the main story of Israel: A Social Report next year.