Haredim, Arabs should have less kids, says Steinitz adviser

Steinitz himself reiterates stance regarding dire need for haredim to join workforce, without which “our economic growth won't be able to continue,”

By JONAH MANDEL
November 10, 2010 16:41
1 minute read.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz

311_steinitz is feeling cross. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz's senior adviser Dr. Avi Simhon said on Tuesday that public figures should call on haredim and Arabs to decrease their birth rates.

“You should tell them it's irresponsible, you are harming your children, your society,” he said in an address at the Sderot Conference for Society. “A regular person checks how many children he supports, and his taxes are allocated to those who have eight children without the means by which to support them.”

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Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai slammed Simhon for his remarks, “which are a result of ignorance and little-mindedness. The demographic situation of the Jews in Israel is imperiled, and increasing natality is the solution for us to retain our Jewish majority in the State.”

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) refused to comment on the “malarkey.”

In an earlier panel, Steinitz himself reiterated his stance regarding the dire need for haredim to join the work force, without which “our economic growth won't be able to continue,” in an address at the Sderot Conference for Society. As for the military, the finance minister maintained that the IDF, unlike the economy, would be able to survive without ultra-Orthodox Jews. He did, however, opine that founding Prime Minister David Ben Gurion made a historic mistake when he exempted the haredim from mandatory military service.

The finance minister's address was disrupted by students from the Sapir College and the Ben Gurion University who raised their voice in protest over the bill to fund kollel students in what they perceive to be a non-egalitarian manner. “Now I feel like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,” Steinitz said with a smile, referring to the heckling the premier was subject to in his address at the GA last night.


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