In light of increased food prices since the beginning of the conflict in the Gaza Strip, prominent Israeli humanitarian organization Pitchon Lev has called for government intervention to impose price controls on essential consumer goods.Eli Cohen, the CEO of Pitchon Lev, made this plea during a discussion held by the Knesset’s Economic Committee. He emphasized that the surge in basic food prices not only affects the level of support for soldiers, security forces, and families in southern and northern settlements during wartime but also exacerbates the plight of families already living below the poverty line. During the discussion, Cohen pointed out that the sharp rise in prices of essential food items poses numerous challenges that are becoming increasingly difficult as the conflict continues. Among these challenges are a growing number of people falling into poverty, an intensification of poverty within families already struggling, and a reduction in assistance to many families not previously in the organization’s care, such as evacuees and those on the periphery. “We are dealing with the reality of an increase in basic food prices, which not only affects the scope of aid to soldiers, the security forces and the families of the southern and northern towns during the fighting, but also harms the families living in poverty, who since the beginning of the fighting have become even weaker,” Cohen said.
Calling for emergency price controls on basic consumer goods, Cohen presented data showing a substantial increase of over 67% in lentil prices, a rise of about 28% in bulgur prices, approximately 20% in dried bean prices, a 42% increase in the price of a kilogram of rice, a staggering 74% hike in pea prices, among other examples.
Assisting hundreds of thousands living in poverty
Pitchon Lev has been actively engaged in a war effort and has been recognized as a vital organization and an official entity central to humanitarian and tactical assistance by the Home Front Command. The organization directly assists hundreds of thousands of families living in poverty, security forces and IDF soldiers, residents of southern and northern Israel, and displaced families.
As part of its activities, the organization provides specialized services in times of emergency, including food supply to families, basic items such as clothing, hygiene products, and bedding, tactical equipment for security forces and mobilization units, an active rights enforcement system during wartime, and more.
“Even before we all have to consider the rehabilitation of entire families who lost all their property, we are already required to bring solutions to hundreds of thousands of families in the State of Israel who are experiencing shortages,” Cohen said. “I call from here to impose price supervision on the basic consumer products, thus allowing the aid organizations to bring widespread support, to reach more families at this difficult time and to prevent the entry of new families into the cycle of poverty.”