Survey: High number of Israelis suffer from stress, some have cut back on food

July 27, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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A high number of Israelis suffer from stress and anxiety following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and about 1.2 million people have reduced the amount of food or meals they eat following the financial crisis, a grim survey by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows.

Woman sits on a bench in an alley in the city of Bet Shemesh. The residents mainly stay home and implementing the Health Ministry’s restrictions, in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Bet Shemesh, Apr 19, 2020. Photo by Yehonatan Valtser/TPS

Some 42% of those aged 21 and over feel stress and anxiety and 55% fear that they will not be able to cover their monthly expenses.

The health condition of 8.5% of the population, approximately 478,6000 people aged 21 and over, has worsened during the crisis, the respondents reported. Among those aged 65 and over, the rate is higher – 13%.

Some 26%, approximately 1.5 million people, aged 21 and over reported that their mental state worsened during the crisis.

A feeling of stress and anxiety accompanies 42% of the population during the second wave of infections in July, about 2.4 million people, compared to 33% in the first wave of infections in the country during March.

Some 21% reported feelings of depression compared to 16% in the previous wave.

A feeling of loneliness accompanies 19% of the population, similar to the previous wave.

A majority, 65%, are afraid of contracting the virus, 33% “to a large extent” and 32% “to a certain extent.” 38% fear of harm to their health for other reasons.

A bit over half of the population, 55%, fear they will face difficulty in covering their expenses. The rate of those who are afraid they will not be able to cover their expenses is higher than the 46% observed in the previous wave.

41% reported that their financial situation worsened following the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent financial crisis.

The financial crisis created a 21% unemployment rate, putting over 855,000 Israelis out of work.

Some 21%, about 1.2 million people, say they have reduced the amount of food or meals they eat. This rate is higher than the 14% observed in the previous wave.

Attempting to somewhat assuage the crisis, the Cabinet on Sunday approved the plan presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz to allocate one-time assistance grants to all citizens to “encourage consumption and employment and move the wheels of the economy.”

Every citizen will receive a grant of NIS 750, with an additional NIS 500 for each child up to the third child, topping at NIS 3,000.

Those who receive various support payments, including for convalescent care, general handicapped status, income assurance, alimony, handicapped IDF veterans, needy victims of terrorism, needy new immigrants, needy Holocaust survivors and income supplements, will receive an additional NIS 750.

The scope of the grants plan is NIS 6.5 billion (approx. $1.9 billion).

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