Israel is a country located in Western Asia. Around ten million people live in the country, with Tel Aviv as its economic and technological center; and Jerusalem as its unrecognized capital.Tourists are attracted to the country, which is considered a high-income country, for its many historical and religious sites. Israel borders Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian territories of West Bank and the Gaza Strip; it shares maritime borders with Cyprus. All these countries have experienced, or continue to experience, instability and violence. The lives of children and families in the region are continuously affected by these disputes.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Israel since 1977.
Israel has been at the centre of conflicts in recent decades. The violence and instability caused by these conflicts have devastating consequences for children.
In the last two decades, about 2,300 children have been killed in the region.
Children are not only affected by the direct consequences of conflict, as they lack access to clean water, shelter and food and live in fear. They also suffer from the long-term effects, for example by getting post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Although Israel has developed a strong economy, many people in the country still live in poverty and are affected by social exclusion. 17% of the population live below the poverty line, making the country one of the poorest of the OECD countries. Children are even more affected by these harsh living conditions, with 27.5% of children living in poverty. Due to the large income inequality among the population, other areas of well-being are also affected, with large inequalities in education, health and life satisfaction.
In Israel, gender gaps in education and employment persist. Girls perform 10% worse in education, one of the largest gaps among OECD countries. Israel also has the second largest wage gap among OECD countries in employment, at 22%. This could be partly due to two reasons. First, religion is officially integrated into the Israeli state and determines services and legal status. Second, the Israeli military plays an important role in the functioning of the state and society. This Israeli gender inequality affects children the most.