How Are Dati Leumi Professionals Doing Compared To Secular Counterparts?


A study was conducted by Ariel Finkelstein for the Ne’emanei Torah V’Avodah organization. A picture emerges regarding employment and wages in the religious versus the secular sector of the population.

The study refers to graduates of the state religious schools, ages 26-41 (born 1973 to 1981), now members of Israel’s workforce. The study reveals the average monthly salary of male graduates of state secular schools is 20.4% higher than their equivalent in the dati leumi sector. The average salary for secular women is 13.5% higher than equivalent dati leumi women.

The average wage of the secular men was 13,423 shekels and those from the dati leumi education averages 11,148 shekels monthly. The average monthly salary of the secular woman is 8,808 shekels as compared to dati leumi women, earning 7,759 shekels. Finkelstein explains the gap stating the religious women and men work fewer hours, and this is why their monthly salary are less.

The graduates of religious school appear primarily in three areas: with the first leading with 19.3% entering chinuch (Education). Only 9% of the secular graduates enter education. Graduates from religious schools also favor entering the health and caretaking fields, totaling 9.5% as compared to only 6.5% among non-religious. And the third category led by the religious is the public administration sector (10.5%) as compared to graduates in the secular system with only 7.2%.

“It seems that the common denominator of these three economic sectors is that most of their work is concentrated in the public service,” Finkelstein says, “and these are industries that many of those who choose to work in do so for reasons of mission and idealism.” Thus, the high proportion of graduates of the religious education system in these fields seems to be compatible with the values ​​of the state-religious education system and the national-religious society.

An internal examination within the state-religious education system shows that there is a significant increase in the number of women graduates of the state-religious education system, especially in the education sector, where 25.6% of the graduates of the state-religious education system work in the labor market, and 14.2% state religious education in the labor market, so that together these two sectors account for more than 40% of the graduates of state-religious education in the labor market.

While in the economic sectors of the public sector there is a much higher integration than the average of graduates of the state religious education system, in six sectors – all of them private sector – the relative minority of graduates from state religious education system is prominent. In the professional, scientific and technical services sector, 4.9% of graduates of state-religious schools work in the labor market, compared with 8% of the graduates of the state secular system, and 6.2% of the graduates of the state religious education system in the labor market, compared with 11% of graduates of the state secular education system.

A lower, though not insignificant gap was found in the financial services, insurance and real estate industry, where 5.4% of the graduates of the state religious education system work in the labor market, compared with 6.9% of the secular education graduates. The three share something in common, primarily the first two, in which is concentrated the areas of programming, computers, engineering, information technology and scientific research and development, so that most of the areas included in them require professional training in the fields of exact sciences.

A significant gap was also found in hospitality and food, art, entertainment and leisure, as well as in wholesale and retail trade.

The Ne’emanei Torah V’Avodah also sees positive aspects of the data. “Public action is very important and wage data do not indicate the extent to which a person contributes to the world,” says Shmuel Shetach, the movement’s director- general.

“It is our duty to ensure that this comes from a place of excellence rather than a place of lack of choice and mediocrity. It is important to note that in the last two years there has been a significant increase in the level of achievement in religious education and there has been a narrowing of the gap in the achievements of general education. The narrowing of the gaps teaches us that it is possible to combine well Torah and science and that excellence in both the secular and the sacred comes together. “The Ne’emanei Torah V’Avodah” movement brought the issue to the attention of religious society for a number of years.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. It sounds as if state-sponsored religious education in Israel does a fair job of preparing religious people for parnassah. I would be curious to know how US religious education compares to secular education of religious Jews in the US. The future of Torah Judaism depends in part on parnassah.

  2. So is YWN advocating someone should cv”s become secular or dati le’umi? Another confused-message article that is of critical importance to the Chareidi yeshiva world.