|Photo by: Baz Ratner/Reuters|
Yesh Atid No. 2: Haredim can’t support themselves
By JEREMY SHARON
Shas head Eli Yishai defends haredi community, says State has failed to help integration of ultra-Orthodox into workforce.
Speaking at hi-tech conference for the haredi sector, Rabbi Shai Piron, the No.
2 candidate on Yesh Atid’s electoral list, said that ultra-Orthodox leaders have
created an entire generation of people within its community who are unable to
The symposium, billed as the “first-ever conference”
on hi-tech entrepreneurship, innovation and employment in the haredi sector,
took place on Tuesday in Jerusalem, hosted by JVP, a hi-tech venture capital
firm, and the Haredi Hi-Tech Forum.
“We are calling out to the haredim
because we need them,” Piron said. “Haredi leaders have to stop relating
to the State of Israel as an enemy of the Torah,” he continued, arguing that
this mentality has “damaged Judaism” and formed “a generation of frustrated
people who can’t support themselves.”
Piron added that “it is forbidden
for a yeshiva be a ‘city of refuge,’” in order to allow people to avoid
participating in the work force.
Interior Minister and joint Shas leader
Eli Yishai said, however, that the state had not done enough to encourage
haredim to join the workforce or perform national service.
who wants to implement the integration of haredim into the workforce, the haredi
battalion [of the IDF] and academia, I say to you that until today the state has
not taken one step or reached out its hand,” Yishai claimed.
He said the
haredi sector’s integration into the job market and national service “should be
allowed to develop according to its own norms and in its own
More than 400 people, the majority of whom were haredim,
participated in the conference, which was designed to help form connections
between people involved in the hitech field in the haredi sector.
Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, himself a hi-tech entrepreneur, also spoke at the
event, and noted that haredim had a lower chance of gaining employment in the
sector than secular or national-religious people because of the stigmas attached
to haredi workers. He called on hi-tech directors to employ haredim “who do
Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP and the No.
11 candidate on Labor’s electoral list, said at the conference that Israel could
“leap forward” if the haredi sector enters the workforce. Less political capital
should be made from societal differences, he said, and sectors should instead
concentrate on uniting factors.
Margalit added that there is no reason
that haredim should partner with “the extreme Right,” and that a “work covenant”
should be formed with the sector that would focus on integration into Israeli
society “together with a logical and sane political path.”
itself focused on providing advice on effective ways of raising capital, and
also identified successful haredi hi-tech ventures and available government
programs for encouraging entrepreneurship in the sector.