Israel Sustainability Issues

The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Israel:

  1. Poverty

The poverty rate increased from 13.3% in 2015 to 13.6% in 2016. Even more significantly, working poor as a percentage of all poor families increased from 56% in 2015 to 59% in 2016. According to the National Insurance Institute’s 2018 data, 21.2% of the Israeli population lives in poverty. The statistics are even more dreadful when speaking about children living in poverty, which accounts for 29.6% of the population (almost 1 in every 3 children). Causes of poverty include changing trends in a country’s economy, the lack of education, a culture of poverty, overpopulation, epidemic diseases such as AIDS and malaria and environmental problems such as lack of rainfall.


  1. Vulnerability of Women

Women on the whole are poorer than men and are more exposed to gender-based violence. These facts affect their presence and positions in the public sphere. The number of calls to rape crisis centers in 2014 were 8938, as compared to 4154 in 1996. A survey found that only 62% of women, compared to 83% of men felt safe while walking in the street. Women are still primarily responsible for the care of family members and house work. This is Invisible Work which is unrecognized and unpaid, but functions as a barrier for women from full and equal participation in the labor market and the public sphere.


  1. Increased Emissions

 In 2008, an increase in ozone concentrations was noted in the Western Galilee, Afula, Modi’in, Jerusalem and Ramat Hovav, and a decrease in ozone concentrations was recorded in monitoring stations in the Haifa region. Between 1996 and 2007, greenhouse gas emissions to the air (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane) in Israel grew by 14 million tons. In 2007, an increase relative to 2006 was noted (0.11 tons). The main source of carbon dioxide emissions is fuel combustion, mostly for electricity production and fuel refining. The second source is fuel combustion for transportation and, to a lesser extent, fuel combustion for the manufacturing and construction industries. The main source of methane emissions to the air is municipal waste (between 75% and 78%). 


  1. Unemployment

Israel’s Unemployment Rate increased to 3.90 % in Nov 2019, from the previously reported number of 3.45 % in Oct 2019. Israel’s Unemployment Rate is updated monthly, available from Jan 2012 to Nov 2019, with an average rate of 5.11 %. The data reached an all-time high of 7.09 % in Mar 2012 and a record low of 3.45 % in Oct 2019. One factor in the drop, was the increase in the number of people working part-time rather than full-time- part-time positions that generally also tend to pay less. Full-time jobs, for purposes of the employment statistics, are jobs involving 35 hours a week or more of employment. The number of full-time workers decreased by 17,000 in January 2018 from December 2017, or 0.6%, while the number of part-time workers increased by 1.3% or 11,000 workers. Overall, the percentage of full-time workers fell to 77.6% in January 2018. Among men, the figure was 86.5% while among women, it was 67.6%.


  1. Water Scarcity

Israel is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the population had grown to 8.6 million people in 2015. According to Troop and Jägerskog (2006), the total renewable volume of water per capita stands at 276 cubic meters per year, which is about half of the “shortage red line” of 500 cubic meters per capita per year, which defines a situation of water shortage.