Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fischer: Israel's ultra-Orthodox must start working

The ultra-Orthodox have to start working, companies have to stop bilking their bondholders and home prices could wind up falling too hard and too fast if the government isn't careful, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said in a stinging address on Wednesday. 

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center, Fischer stressed the danger posed by a fast-growing population where work isn't the norm. "In 30 years, the proportion of the Haredi population will be much bigger," the governor said. "Most of that community doesn't work. I respect religion, but a state of affairs in which part of the population growing very fast doesn't work can't go on."


  1. Perhaps if the government were to stop paying them not to work...

  2. "Perhaps if the government were to stop paying them not to work..."

    The government doesn't pay them not to work. They pay them for having an army of kids, which they would have anyway. That being said however, it's hard to argue with Fischer. He may not be Daas Torah, but he certainly has daas reality.

  3. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    To modern secular trained eyes it may seem that Charedim "do not work" but it is not true.

    Of course Charedim value Torah learning. That will never change and no matter what they do or will not do, it is a requirement of Charedi life to devote as much as one can of each day to Torah study, prayer and meditation. But even with that, it does not mean that Charedim are divorced from reality and do not work merely because they are not sitting in fancy offices from 9 to 5 with lunch breaks six days a week in Israel.

    Since most Charedim do not accept secular educations, they are not therefore professionals that require university training. The exceptions are the mostly American and Western mostly Yeshivisha Charedim. Many graduates of Charedi yeshivot from America are also university trained professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.

    Israeli and Chasidic Charedim gravitate to all forms of wholesale & retail, import & export, manufacturing & sales, trade & commerce, real estate & rentals, none of which require secular education, but ALL of which they are trained for by the TALMUDICAL pilpul methods and MIND TRAINING they all receive in their yeshivot from earliest youth. In other words they are still MERCHANTS at heart and practice, and good at it.

    Charedim own lots of real estate and property and know how to people to build, develop and rent it out. They know how to buy and sell anything. Think of all their needs with such a huge growing population. They buy from fellow Charedim who do not work out of formal offices or shops. You could stroll by "poor looking" Charedim and they may be the world's leading jewelry and diamond merchants or the biggest importers and exporters of virtually anything.

    Charedim know how to barter and bargain and make deals with almost anyone, they are not afraid of the outside world, in fact the original Rothchild was a type of Charedi himself, and they can set up their own informal "banks" as they do not need gentile banks or governments to run their financial system. Chasidic Rebbes are also head bankers and chief financial advisers to their flocks, just see all the buildings, schools and shulls they build!!

    Charedim are not financially illiterate. They know how to keep a "poker face" and "play their cards close to their chests". They know how to deal in currencies and commodities and anything else that moves or can be grown or sold for a profit. Some Charedim must be making huge profits from the unique clothing items they wear, from all the seforim and religious articles they use, foods they eat. Some Charedim become fabulously wealthy from owning esrog orchards and selling them and with the four species and sukas for sukkot, and buying and selling wheat for Matzo on Pesach and then baking and selling matzo and all the food products for Pesach and year round, and all religious items. Every boy eventually needs tefilin and a talis and every girl eventually needs a trousseau, jewelry and a white dress and they are bought from other Charedim.

    Charedim earn huge profits from their own food industry, selling and buying anything all the time, air travel, payment for tuitions, life in apartments and the needs of children.

    All this and more is not seen by people like Fischer who think that the Charedim are sitting around twiddling their thumbs. While in fact the Charedim are learning and doing "gesheften" at the same time, all the time.

    Charedim have immense reserves of energy!!!

    Sometimes deals can be done in one hour with a couple of calls, and the rest of the day is spent learning Torah in a bais medrash, while other times more full time involvement is on the go, but it's not advertized. But it's a very dynamic world that Charedim live and learn and work in!

  4. HA! I live here...Please tell me how much you think charedim get from the government!??!

  5. Well even if they don't 'get', they're not 'giving' (i.e. being productive).

  6. Is there a real reason that many do not want to work or is it simply they are not qualified?

  7. This is called 'disingenuous'. To the extreme. It's the chilloni hanhaga that makes the workplace treif, that demands that charedim who want to serve in their army break their religious laws and listen to women singing. And then they pretend to be inviting us. They serve a treif feast and complain that Mordechai is anti-social. Get over it.

  8. "HA! I live here...Please tell me how much you think charedim get from the government!??!"

    I don't know, but there's an uproar every time they want to reduce the government checks to kollel yungerleit.

    I think it's important to remember that we're not dealing with some radical left winger here. Stanley Fisher is well respected across the board and has never been known to be anti-chareidi. If he says the current situation can't go on, I'm inclined to believe him.

  9. RaP:

    Your comments are easily proven false. Or else you should be able to easily prove them true.

    If Charedim are all such machers in business, where is the evidence in terms of Tax filings? I find it impossible to believe that every time this topic comes up people are conveniently ignoring easily obtainable Tax records which would prove that Charedim are economically productive.

    So, either you are making things up, or what you write applies to a infinitesimally small portion of the Charedi world, or you are stating that Charedim do not pay taxes, and thus are tremendous thieves and cheats who are not following Torah.


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