Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is the State preventing Haredim from working?

A Guest Post by Rafi G

At a conference for accountants by the Dead Sea, Moshe Gafni accused the State of not allowing haredim into the workforce. According to Gafni, the Haredi public has undergone dramatic changes and realizes they need to be a participating factor in the State of Israel, yet the State does not allow them to enter the workforce..

Does anybody have any idea in what way the State prevents anybody from working? How do they prevent Haredim from working/ Aside from being a bad economy and it is tough for anybody to find a decent job right now, how does the State prevent anybody from working, and how do they specifically target Haredim and stop them?

Does he mean the State has not given haredim a special tax break? I haven't heard of such a request, but if there was such a request and it has not been approved, they would still only be on equal footing as everybody else, and not targeted.

Is there a law haredim cannot work? I am not aware of one. And as Gafni himself says, more and more Haredim want to join the workforce, and as he only implies, more and more are doing so.

Is it because of the requirement to do army service? they are still only on equal footing with everyone else, but they (the majority of them) refuse to fulfill the requirement while others do.

Is it because of education, or lack of? Again, what does the State have to do with that? Is Gafni insisting people hire Haredim who are not educated and trained in the various fields of business, just because they are Haredim? When the State insists on adding curriculum to the general education, the Haredi politicians always refuse and get the haredi schools exempted? Does he expect the State to certify them as lawyers and doctors or accountants without getting the adequate education relevant to the field?

Is he talking about personal bias that maybe some employers have against hiring Haredim? What does this have to do with the State? Just like some people are biased against hiring Haredim, some people are biased against hiring fat people, others are biased against hiring women, others are biased against hiring anybody older than 25, etc.

Again, I don't see how Gafni differentiates the Haredim from anybody else in how they can or cannot be in the workforce, and how the State is at fault for it. Anybody who wants to go to work has the ability to apply for the relevant licenses and open a business, or submit his cv to employers in whatever field he wants and apply for jobs. I am not sure how the State prevents anybody from going o work, other than by giving them too much incentive (in the form of subsidies) to prefer to stay home and decide why bother working..

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