Governor Fischer Calls on Chareidim to Get Out and Work


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charedi2.jpgBank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer on Monday released a call to the chareidi community, to “get out and work” to improve the dire economic realities in the community. Fischer made his statement in an address before a forum sponsored by Hamodia in Binyanei Ha’uma (Jerusalem Convention Center).

Fischer told his audience that the poverty level in the chareidi sector is among the highest in Israel, citing an alarming statistic, that in 2008, 60% of the chareidi community was listed as “poor”. He called on chareidi men and women to join the workforce towards improving the difficult situation and quality of life.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. Ask why Hareidim in America “work” and Israeli ones don’t (allegedly).

    1. Most officially recognized jobs in Israel are limited to veterans. In the United States, veteran preferences are limited. Also, the American army exempts (won’t allow enlistment of)Hareidim since it would too hard to accomodate them (“unsuitable for military service”). In Israel the government refuses to exempt Hareidim (it defers while in school, but only while in school) even though accomodation of Hareidim in the army is limited. Ending conscription would solve many problems. It is unlikely the army could accmodate Bnei Torah in the army without creating extreme tension with hiloni soldiers (imagine a dress code for female soldiers that would be acceptable, or the impact of a non-fraternization policy in an army known for its libido).

    2. The Israeli government considers teachers and graduate students in universities to be employed, as does the United States, but Israel does not consider teachers and kollel students to be employed (if they did, they would lose their army deferment). Hareidi unemployment would drop if persons who receive money to learn Torah were counted as employed. If you get money beyond a tuition waiver, learning is a job, not a hobby.

    3. America has a long tradition of religious accomodation that has grown stronger over the last 50 years (well beyond what is required by the civil rights act). Virtually all Americans see the presence of hareidi coworkers favorably, and fanatic secularists are seen as unAmerican bigots. In Israel, the extreme secularists have the upper hand and see harassing frum Jews as fulfillment of the zionist dream. Most secular Israeli companies don’t work frum coworkers.

    4. America’s flexible system of higher education allows hareidim who want to get higher degrees in all fields. In Israel, that’s impossible since formal secular credentials are required rather than “equivalents”. American universities, even far left wing ones, go out of their way to accomodate religious minorities.

    5. Since employment leads to conscription, many hareidim pretend to be unemployed. This also avoids paying income tax. Tax evasion in Israel is not limited to frum Jews, but has led to the belief that many people are unemployed (when they are merely tax evaders).

  2. It’s about time someone said it as it is. Not everyone is cut out to be a lifelong learner. Those who aren’t should be working. This meets with the hashkafa of klal yisroel since we became a nation.

  3. Actually not such a bad idea. There is nothing in the Torah against work not according to the Chasidim nor according to the Litvishe/Yeshivishe crowd. Those who choose to & are able to should learn as long as they possibly can & then seek some sort of vocation & get a job. It won’t kill anybody. Those who don’t work & are not seriously learning are putting a strain on the community who with limited resources are supporting both full time learners & other unfortunate people who can’t work for whatever reason.

  4. According to Halacha, every city should be employing 10 people in Kolel!

    10 people!

    That’s it! We are living in a world, where Halacha is not considered but every Rosh Yeshiva’s word is like it came form God.

    Imagine, if only 20 people were learning full time is Lakewood, and the rest was out working! How about in Flatbush, and Boro park. Now how about in Jerusalem, and Bnei Brak!

    The world would be a better place!

  5. who is this mr. fischer that we should listen to his advice?? is his word ‘daas torah’??
    i think we need to give our gedolim more credit. they obviously know the chareidi world much better than mr. fischer, and they have given the daas torah that it is forbidden to work. there is nothing more to say!!
    if mr. fischer called on chareidim to be mechallel shabbos, eat treif, etc. (R”L), would we sit here debating whether he is right or wrong????

  6. yissi, the world is standing on torah, avodah and gemilas chasodim. If you pull out 90% of one pillar what will the world really look like? Will there even be a world?

  7. Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer you sound like a Idiot!

    I have ten friends here in Israel searching for jobs! there is no work.

    1 friend just got a job that pays 22 nis an hour roughly $6 an hour = $600 a month


  8. Veyatziv,

    Correct. That is exactly my point! Im ain Kemach Ain Torah!

    If you are not of the 10 chosen to sit and learn all day, then you are amoung the myriads who have to work to support them.

    The world has to stand on a pillar that is 100%. The pillar today is less than 10% because everyone is choosing to sit and learn and suck off the community pot, instead of working and contributing to it (and the economy).

  9. to #8- this mr fischer happens to be extremely knowledgeable about economics. if he says something then people should listen. just like they should listen when gedolim say stuff concerning torah. all fischer was saying is that if israel wants to improve from this terrible economic time then more chareidim need to work. stop making excuses for them. a large percentage are just lazy.

    to #9- of course there would be a world. it used to be that only the select few (either brilliant or wealthy) sat and learned full time. even the chofetz chaim had a job. i think that should tell you something.

  10. I think all the people commenting here should go out and get a job instead of sitting at their computers and reading these comments the whole day, especially #7. Then the world will be a better place.

  11. #8 -Mr. Fischer is the head of the Israeli National Bank (equivalent to Ben Benanke in the US). He is a secular Jew with limited experience in Israel, and has had very little contact with anything other than secular upper class Ashkenazim. He might not even be aware of the extent that many hareidim either work “off the books” or are being paid to learn (meaning they are no more unemployed than teachers and university fellows). The fact he made such a speech suggests he is pandering to the Israeli elites.

    If they wanted to increase hareidi pariticipation in the official economy they could: 1) abolish conscription; 2) enact an American-style law prohibiting discrimination against religious employees; 3) treat four years in a post-secondary yeshiva as the same as a B.A. in Talmud from a university in terms of deciding who is qualified for a job. Given the hiloni goal of establishing an Eretz Yisrael that is free from the Torah, these are unlikely, and Mr. Fisher is being a hypocrite.

  12. #8 Zalmy – “who is this mr. fischer that we should listen to his advice?? is his word ‘daas torah’??”
    Rav Shach issued a proclamation that any bocher who was not putting in a full day of serious learning should be in the Army.

  13. #4 said: Also, the American army exempts (won’t allow enlistment of)Hareidim since it would too hard to accomodate them (”unsuitable for military service”).

    This may be so since 1973 when the draft was abolished, but when it was in force there was no exceptions made for the Orthodox. Therefore, if one had a low draft lottery number, he either faked insanity or went to Canada. I doubt #4 is old enough to remember the situation during Vietnam. I do. I served three years in the US Army Infantry, 4th Inf. Div. (Mech). I was given Shabbos and Yom Tov off, with the understanding that any other day I would work to allow a non-Jew to be off. I was give $75 per month in meal allowance, with the understanding that if I blew the money on narishkeit and was starving, it would be too bad.

    #4 likes to sound like he knows it all, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

  14. it pains me to read the various comments which seem to argue (R”L) that we should listen to this mr. fischer over the daas torah of our holy gedolim. can a frum person honestly think that this “expert” knows better that gedolei yisroel what is better for us????
    and to those who asked, yes, it is daas torah that it is forbidden to work. even a child in cheder knows this!

  15. duh! it aint rocket science.
    and if anyone needed it spelled out, there are better sources than mr. fisher.
    sheshes yamim taavod…
    be’zeas apecha tochal lechem….
    kol avodah she’en imah melacha…

    (ps…laughing out loud at comment 20. it is forbidden to work. ouch.)

  16. #19 – under current rules a beard is banned (one exception is made for one Jewish chaplain) — if you served three years in the military during the Vietnam war you could not have been a conscript since the conscription period was for two years (how one would purchase kosher food in a combat zone is beyond me — where were you stationed and what was your job)

  17. The gemara regarding the 10 people learning is slightly misconstrued by Yissi.

    It is not saying that ONLY 10 people are allowed to learn, but rather saying that each city is obligated to support 10 people. Meaning that a city of a certain size can tax each resident to support 10 people in the city so that they can learn full-time. Beyond that you cannot be taxed.

    It does not mean that you can’t or shouldn’t support them.

  18. Shul,

    You state, “beyond that you cannot be taxed”. Well this sytem is TAXing our economy! So we are paying for this. Misconstrued? Hardly!

  19. Cherrybim – “Rav Shach issued a proclamation that any bocher who was not putting in a full day of serious learning should be in the Army. ”

    Joseph- “Rav Shach was always adamantly opposed to enlistment.”

    Joseph, I have a copy of the proclamation from Rav Shach.

  20. #24 shul: Your idea of supporting learners is called SOCIALISM: The yeshiva should support them through projects, donations, tuition, etc… other means. Forcing a ‘tax’ to pay for someones entire salary is Socialist and I want no part of it. Tzedaka is very important. a forced tax is not considered maaser.

  21. #20 – ‘yes, it is daas torah that it is forbidden to work’

    guess that the Gemorra in Kiddushin [father is mechuyav to teach his son an umnus], Rav Yochanan Hasandler [shoemaker], The Dr. Rambam, etc, etc all did not follow Daas Torah.

    What a simplistic, laughable, comment. Hope the ‘even a child in cheder knows this!’ is taught properly – not as you suggest.

  22. to #28 (the reader)-
    do you really think that you know more than the gedolei hador?? do you really think that they forgot that gemorro?? of course they know it much better than you or i, and the daas torah says that it is forbidden for chareidim to work. again, even a child knows this!

  23. #29- perhaps bring some proof that there is such a ‘Daas Torah’? Who and what did they say? It is very easy to say ‘daas torah says that it is forbidden for chareidim to work’.

    Can we now throw out all Choshen Mishpat as no one is working?

  24. #27
    I believe both the Rambam and the Chassam Sofer disagree with your view on the economics of this system as does the gemarah in baba basra.

  25. #26: I have a tape of Rav Schach warning in the most direst terms against joining the Israeli Army, for ANY Torah observant Jew.

  26. to #29 – i am sure that there is way MORE of a da’as torah against using the internet… just saying…
    (unless, of course, it is for work purposes, which OBVIOUSLY is not your case)