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February 14: Poverty in Israel

February 14, 2013

Israel's National Insurance Institute (NII) reported on this date in 2010 that despite the country's surging economy, a quarter of Israeli citizens, about 1.8 million people, live in poverty, including 35.3 percent of children, half of Arab families, and 14 percent of Jewish families. NII also reported that 32 percent of families in Israel have one child, 31 percent have two, 20 percent have three children, and 8 percent have five or six children. Poverty among Jews is especially concentrated among ultra-Orthodox families with large numbers of children (half of the children in Jerusalem live in poverty). Of the 130,000 single-parent Israeli families (out of a total of over two million families), 97 percent are headed by women and a third are poor. Nevertheless, Israel is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, consisting of the 30-odd richest countries, and in 2011, Israel ranked 17th out of 194 nations in the United Nations' Human Development Index.

"[P]overty among working families continued to rise in 2011 compared to 2010, despite improvements observed in the job market during the same year. The figures also exposed an increase of almost three percent in poverty among families with two or more earners, who for many years, were considered immune to poverty." —Jerusalem Post

ALSO: Activist playwright Eve Ensler's concept for a "One Billion Rising" movement against sexual violence and the exploitation of women is scheduled to bloom into gatherings of dance, song, protest and celebration in 200 countries around the world today. The campaign marks the fifteenth anniversary of V-Day, Ensler's annual day of worldwide consciousness-raising and fundraising ($90 million raised in its first fourteen years). Ensler (whose father was Jewish — and sexually abused her as a child) is the world-renowned author of The Vagina Monologues.

JEWDAYO ROCKS! Murray the K (Kaufman), the self-described "Fifth Beatle" and New York's most popular disc jockey in the 1960s, especially before the FM revolution, was born on this date in 1922 (and would die 60 years later on February 21st). To see him dancing, talking music and politics, and wearing a bad toupée in 1974, see below.

Sylvain Sylvain (Mizrahi), guitarist for the New York Dolls, was born in Cairo, Egypt on this date in 1951. To see the Dolls live, see below.