Haredi civilian volunteers ordered to clock in

By JONAH MANDEL
February 17, 2011 05:50

In attempt to crack down on those who don’t fill weekly quota of volunteering, attendance clocks installed in institutions.

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clock in machine

clock in machine 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

In an attempt to crack down on haredim who don’t fill their weekly quota of volunteering as a substitute for military service, Sar-Shalom Jerbi, head of the Civilian and National Service Authority, recently ordered the installation of attendance clocks in all institutions served by haredi volunteers.

“Over 1,600 haredi men currently volunteer in the civilian service, and contribute greatly to society and community. The vast majority of them join the service out of a real feeling of mission, and a desire to help,” Jerbi wrote the institution heads at the end of last month.

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“Out of a desire to improve supervision over the volunteering hours, and to ensure that volunteers fill the quotas they have committed to, I ask that you install an attendance clock.”

Jerbi gave three weeks to report the implementation of his request.

The decision comes in the wake of a number of cases in which haredi volunteers were revealed to be inadequately present at their places of volunteering.

Part of the criticism leveled at this alternative service for haredim pertains to the fact that supervision over the haredi volunteers, many of whom serve in institutions within their community, is lax.

While Arabs also volunteer as part of this alternative service, no similar order was issued to install attendance clocks in institutions served by them.

Following a query from The Jerusalem Post, a spokeswoman for the Civilian and National Service Authority explained that the need for such supervision only exists in the haredi sector due to the unique characteristics of the volunteers and the nature of the service – many of the haredim who volunteer have families, and are enabled more flexibility in their service.

Thus a haredi volunteer can serve two years of 20 weekly hours so he can continue to learn part-time in a yeshiva, or undertake vocational training at the same time. That flexibility is what creates the need for tighter supervision, she explained.

Jerbi noted in a statement that “the clocks will prevent the exploitation of the civilian service framework, and ensure a meaningful and useful service for thousands of volunteers.”


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