Friday, June 7, 2013

The necessity and problems of getting Chareidim integrated into Israeli society

NY Times   One ultra-Orthodox job-seeker listed on his résumé, under technical skills, his success in building a hut on his porch for the annual fall harvest holiday and preparing his kitchen for Passover. Another brought a curriculum vitae handwritten on fax paper, folded in his pocket.  

When Binyamin Yazdi, an employment counselor, asks ultra-Orthodox clients their e-mail addresses, many respond, “What’s that?” 

Israel has been consumed in recent months with the challenge of integrating the insular, swelling ultra-Orthodox minority, known as Haredim, into society. The animating theme of the last election campaign was a call for Haredim — and Israeli Arabs — to “share the burden” of citizenship, particularly in military service, and last week a Parliament committee approved legislation to end widespread draft exemptions for yeshiva students. 

But while the draft is the emotional issue that has drawn thousands to protests, the low number of ultra-Orthodox men with jobs is much more important, with a dire effect on the economy in terms of productivity, taxes and the drain caused by welfare payments. 

Because of Orthodox men’s commitment to full-time Torah study and a fear of assimilation, only a little more than 4 in 10 of them work, less than half the rate of other Jewish men in Israel, and their average salaries are 57 percent of other Jewish men in the country. Nearly 60 percent of Haredi families live in poverty, and by 2050 they are expected to make up more than a quarter of Israel’s population. 

“It’s clear this is a situation which cannot continue,” Stanley Fischer, the departing governor of the Bank of Israel, declared this spring, a warning underlined in a recent report to the cabinet from the National Economic Council. 

Without a radical change, cautioned Yedidia Z. Stern of the Israel Democracy Institute, “the Israeli economy will collapse in two decades.”[...]


  1. Well finally this is something we can blame on the seculars. After all they're the ones who allowed the Chareidi educational system to produce two generations of men who not only lack basic skills and education but think that having basic skills and education is against the Torah!
    It's going to take more than a few years to fix this problem.

  2. and in a related development:
    Joel Rich


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