Poverty perceptions of social workers and physicians in Israel

Menachem Monnickendam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This qualitative study comparing poverty perceptions of social workers (SWs) and primary care physicians (PCPs) employed in Israel's public services found that both attributed the poverty of their own clients to similar causes-individualistic, structural, fate, and policy-but differed in most of their perspectives and moral imperatives. The PCPs tended to be more angry, skeptical, and accusatory than the SWs, who were more forbearing and accepting. Both believed that those in a position to work should, but only PCPs held that they should work for any salary. With respect to policy, PCPs looked at the macro, SWs at the micro. The findings suggest that it might be more fruitful to keep inter-professional discussions on the poor and poverty pragmatic, rather than theoretical and principled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-980
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Israel has a large, centralized, mainly government-funded welfare system. By law, council social services (CSS), funded by the Ministry of Welfare and run in accord with government directives, operate in every municipality. They provide a wide-range of in-kind assistance and services, including child and family services, services to the aged, personal counseling, referral services, and others. The directors of the CSSs are all ACSWs.


  • Client
  • Moral imperative
  • Patient
  • Poverty perception
  • Primary care physician
  • Social worker


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