Israel: Number of Chareidi Men in Workforce Plummets, Record Number Learn in Yeshiva


The number of Chareidi men in the workforce has dipped during the third quarter of 2018 and now stands at below 50 percent.

While the workforce participation in the general population of Israel is at 82 percent, the number drops to 48 percent in the various Chareidi communities around Israel. It has also been announced that there are a record number of Avreichim and Bochrim learning in Yeshivas – 124,450 in 2017.

For the past two years, the percentage of Chareidi men in the workforce has not dropped below 51 percent, until this past quarter.

The statistics were presented to the Finance Department of the Knesset by the Knesset’s Center for Research and Data.

The stated goal of the Chareidi employment program, to reach 63 percent of Chareidi men in the workforce by 2020, seems to be near impossible at this point based upon these findings.

However, Chareidi women have long since passed the 63 percent target and stand at 74 percent, a statistic that is on par with the general population of Israel.

[RECORD NUMBER: 124,450 Avreichim And Yeshiva Bochrim in Eretz Yisrael]

Another eye-opening statistic is that only 1.3 percent of the Charedi working population works in civil service positions, whereas the target number is 7 percent.

Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee MK Moshe Gafni blamed the lack of progress on the Commissionership and claimed that they are breaking the law with regards to giving preference to Charedim in the civil service. “There are plenty of Chareidi men who want to earn a living, but the people who speak about including Charedim in the workforce are speaking falsely.”

Head of the Charedi Department of the Israel Democracy Institute, Dr. Gilad Malach, said that he believes the main reason why there was a drop in the workforce was due to the incentives that the country gives out to Chareidi men to stay and learn in Kollel.

“The incentives that the government has given out to Charedim has double the budget for Avreichim and returned the stipend that guarantees income for Charedim. In addition they nullified the stipulation that Chareidi men need to work in order to receive discounts for child daycare and additional discounts. One hand seems to be trying to incorporate Charedim into the workforce, while the other hand puts the brakes on the entire process,” Malach concluded.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. a few points; many people reading this article have mishpocho or friends living in isreal , ask them what is the feel they get are more charedim working , does it seem more difficult to stay in learning than in the past ? they will answer yes to both questions.
    the same is for BMG , in the past 8 years the avg time a yungrerman is in kollel before going out to make a parnassah has shortened significantly for many reasons
    why the isreali gov numbers dont tell the real story vehamavin yovin

    ps how many yungeleit living in brooklyn are IN KOLLEL MORE THAN 5 YEARS ?

  2. Is what the article calls “worrying statistic” the opinion of YWN? Seems like this article was written by YWN Israel Desk… Curious. In our history and future iyh, if you break out even further then genders, to shevet Levi, you may find 0% unemployment. (Oh right we don’t have that today and YWN Israel does not apparently want anything like it today). Very worrisome. Maybe I’ll spend Shabbos worrying.

  3. It is natural for people to look inward or find a safe place when facing adversity. The hatred to and fight against chareidim would create a tendency to shy away from the workforce. True, many find work within chareidi life, but not all. If Israeli society was open to the chareidim this dip would not exist and there would be more working chareidim.

  4. The money is minimal. Doesn’t qualify as an incentive. The gov. gives $100 per month per avreich. That’s $1,200 a year. Nobody lives on that, Cost of living in Israel is pretty high. The kollels are a money maker for Israel as the Kollels must raise several thousand dollars per student from America and England. For every dollar the gov. spends it gets back 3 into the economy. The reason charedi men don’t work is because working nullifies the draft exemption and the army is not kosher. The cause of the unemployment problem is the Israeli government.

  5. @bishteieinayaim,
    with ywn`s attitude on most other issues concerning yiddishkiet, i could very well imagine that this disgusting comment was written with all the intention

  6. Trying to stay calm: There are many units in the army where soldiers can get food with top of the line chassideshe hashgacha. Some units may not have experienced Chassideshe mashgichim but ALL IDF units are “kosher”.

  7. eventually, the chareidi burden becomes too large for the economy that any party who might succumb to chareidi pressure loses votes. the system collapses and charedim are left holding the bag. very sad.

    imho, american avreichim who live there long-term, raise large families, get free healthcare and other benefits but do not become citizens, ought to get nothing.

    those who profit from this system can easily be identified; if you support their efforts you are abetting a disastrous outcome in the future.

    this never occurred in traditional orthodoxy except in the fiction created to lie about our history.

  8. To TryingToStayCalm,
    “The reason charedi men don’t work is because working nullifies the draft exemption and the army is not kosher.”

    And mooching off the government, waging battles against zionist windmills and creating the impression that all charedim do is take but give nothing back to the society… thats “Kosher” ??
    Why do I see a literal parade of middle aged charedi men asking for tzadaka in my shule every morning ? Are they still trying to avoid the draft ??? No they are hoping to make money by begging rather than working. The Rambam was 100% on target when he said those who don’t support themselves will turn to crime. As you yourself said, no one can live off $1,200 per year. So who’s paying your bills ? Iran ?

  9. Dr. Yidd: “eventually, the chareidi burden becomes too large for the economy.”
    i think similar type statements appear in Mein Kampf.

  10. American Yerushalmi:
    Dr. Yidd’s comment is both accurate and of concern as a simple mathematical reality. Neither EY nor any other developed country can survive long-term when the fastest growing segment of its population chooses to withdraw from the workforce and make little if any contributions to economic output or the value of domestic product or services. Your reference to Nazi philosophical treatises is both disgusting and reflective of your own ignorance.

  11. Jeff Stuart, they do contribute a much greater amount to Israel’s security through Limud Hatorah.
    A God fearing Jew wouldn’t be cynical about that.

    DrYidd, while it’s true that we haven’t witnessed such a phenomenon in recent history, the fact that such a community has been able to thrive is not something we should be looking down upon.
    Also, a recent study credited the insularity of the community as the reason why nobody is starving. The study added that taking a significant percentage oe Avreichim and putting them in the workforce would actually increase the poverty rate.

  12. It depends. If they’re learning, wonderful. If they’re batteling they should go do something productive.

    In my opinion the whole issue could be solved by militarizing the yeshivos. Treat Torah-learning and tehillim-saying as serious aspects of the national defense, and have soldiers in uniform doing so, under military discipline. If you’re late to seder, or caught batteling during seder, you go to the stockade. After 3 years’ service you’re free to get a job just like any army leaver.

    And while you can apply for service in the yeshiva brigade, the army might decide you’re more needed somewhere else, just as it does for those who apply for paratroops or golani.

  13. To Ayeshivishguy
    You may be yeshivish but you weren’t mdayek on my loshon, I didn’t say they don’t contribute to security I said they don’t contribute to society, there is a difference and if you stop the false shakla v’tariya you may be clearheaded enough to perceive the truth of what I said.

  14. Hey Gadol, you know that the National Socialists enlisted scientists and other “experts” to “prove” their ideas. There were entire university faculties that were devoted to “proving” their ideologies. And here too, economists, various prognosticators, and assorted experts are also “proving” and “forecasting” what will happen if too many Jews are learning full time. So, what’s disgusting and ignorant for one also applies to the other. It’s the same hatred of Jews and Judaism.
    In any case, nearly everyone is earning some money along with learning. So, you know, chill a little, and don’t come down with such vehemence on those who are upholding the universe.
    Incidentally, there is a very large Israeli Arab community — probably twice the number of Chareidim. A significant portion of this community is in the same economic situation as (le’havdil) the Chareidi community. Are you as concerned about this much larger community receiving benefits, not “not contributing to economic growth,” etc. as you are about the Chareidim? Do you describe them using the same language? Do you feel that the Israeli Arab community will “eventually become too large for the economy?”