Israel’s economic crisis causes suicide rate to soar
Israel has witnessed a sharp increase in suicide cases over the past year and experts agree that the reason behind the rise is the nation’s deep economic recession. The fourth suicide this week took place Tuesday night when a 67 year-old former restaurant owner took his life. This brings Israel’s suicide casualty number to ten over the past two months.
Ze’ev Nir and his wife ran a catering business for many years. After closing down operations eight years ago, the couple opened a delicatessen, however the business was hard hit by the current recession. Nir left behind a letter to his family asking for forgiveness and explained that he was facing financial difficulties, reported Haaretz.
The three other suicides this week were also motivated personal debt crises. A 53-year old installation contractor killed himself early Wednesday. After police questioned his relatives, it was revealed that his business was in severe debt. Tel Aviv resident and teacher Rachel Hartman took her life three days ago after being dismissed from work. Rafi Cohen, a father of three, hanged himself Tuesday due to financial difficulties that he encountered after his car alarm installation company went into debt.
Israel’s economy is in its worse shape in decades. In fact, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics recently determined that Israel is experiencing its worst economic slowdown since the establishment of the Jewish state, in 1948. With over 50,000 small businesses shut down in 2002 and an additional 60,000 expected to close this year, unemployment in Israel has peaked at 10.4 percent.
It is currently estimated that 1.2 million people, 20 percent of the Israeli population, now live in poverty. This places Israel’s second only to the United States, among developed countries, in terms of socio-economic disparities.
At the same time, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrunk to one percent in 2002, having already contracted 0.9 percent the previous year. In the first half of 2002, the local shekel currency lost 14 percent against the dollar. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)