With just over 8 million people, Israel has over 1.7 million, more than 20 percent of the population, living below the poverty line, according to the latest report issued by the National Insurance Institute (NII) and the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Issued in December, the figures relate to 2012 and will have worsened since then, World Socialist Web Site reported.
The poverty line is defined as an income half the median disposable income weighted by household size. For an individual this translates into a monthly income of less than NIS 2,820 ($809) and for a couple less than NIS 4,513 ($1,287) a month.
While there was a very small reduction in the overall numbers living in poverty, including families and children, from the previous year, the number of older people living in poverty jumped by 3 percent, to 22.7 percent.
Nearly all the older people surveyed said their pensions were insufficient to provide a decent life, with many citing financial cutbacks making their situation worse.
The figures also revealed the growing numbers who are working and in poverty. Five percent of families with two or more adults working were below the poverty line--an increase of nearly half a percent from the previous year, for an overall increase of 2 percent since 1999.
The report noted the persistence of poverty among poor families with children, with around two-thirds of such families being in long-term poverty and with an average gap between household income and the poverty line of more than a third.
There has been a rise in recent months of Israelis emigrating to Germany and the United States, with many saying they are leaving on economic grounds.