Vice Chair Nitsa (Kaliner) Kasir participated in a session titled “Getting out of Poverty,” held in memory of Professor Yossi Katan at the Sderot Conference. Kasir presented challenges and courses of action for getting out of poverty, with emphasis on the need for utilizing a holistic socio-economic model that has many players involved, from the individual and the poor family through the community and on to local authorities and the government. “The model,” said Kasir, “needs to emphasize the responsibility resting on the poor person himself and, to the extent possible, should focus on increasing the individual’s income and minimizing his dependence on welfare services. The role of the government is to provide the tools to do so, and thereby address all facets of poverty.”
Kasir also presented the different ways of coping among two especially poor population groups in Israel: the Haredi community and the Arab community. She noted that, unlike the Arab community, poverty in the Haredi community doesn’t stem from shortcomings but from a choosing of a way of life that actually increases individuals’ well-being; thus, in the Haredi community, the poor individual and the community at large take responsibility, which is reflected in their socio-economic standing.