Bloomberg news agency released a comprehensive article on Sunday with regards to the Chareidi population in Israel, Kikar reports. This came following recent statements being made by Israeli government officials, including one from the Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fisher, concerning the employment of Chareidi men. “The population growth in Israel is in danger because the Chareidim do not work” reads the headline of the article.
“Israel can not tolerate a Chareidi population growth if they won’t work; it cannot last.” Fischer said less than two weeks ago at a meeting with foreign journalists in Jerusalem.
Bloomberg’s review noted that nearly 60% of the Chareidi men do not work, and that they are the population with the highest birth rate after the Bedouins.
“The Chareidim enjoy public assistance totaling hundreds of millions of shekels a year,” writes Bloomberg. “About 50 thousand of them are exempt from military service, which means they do not participate pushing forward technology in Israel and helping change the economy. About 70% of Charedi men aged 30-34, are in kollel. In London, for example, this rate stands at 17%.”
Bloomberg also brought the story of M. Lincker, 39-year-old Chareidi man in kollel who makes do with public assistance and his wife’s salary she gets for being a teacher. He said: “We live in a Jewish state and provide a spiritual energy that is necessary to continue to exist. It is no less important than the economy.”
Regarding the issue of exemption from military service, Bloomberg brings a statement from M. Schwartz, a 28-year-old Chareidi, who said simply, that “many Chareidim see the army as a non kosher environment. There are a lot of girls there, and an atmosphere of military pride which is not something the Chareidim see as appropriate.”
(Feivel Katz – YWN Israel)