The government has allocated half a billion shekels for advancing the
integration of haredim into the workforce over the next five years, Economy and
Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday.
Bennett made the
announcement during a hearing of the Knesset State Control Committee, which had
convened to discuss the state comptroller’s findings on government progress
toward increasing haredi employment.
The program will include the
creation of employment guidance centers and provide professional training, as
well as financial incentives in workplaces to increase employers’ demand for
Ravid Amosi, a representative of the Council for Higher
Education who was present at the hearing, said that one of the main goals the
government had established in 2010 was to make higher education more accessible
Since then, Amosi said, seven new frameworks have been
established for haredi higher education at different institutions around the
country: in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Safed, at Haifa’s Technion – Israel Institute
of Technology, and at three institutions in Jerusalem.
deputy director of the Economy and Trade Ministry, said that one of the main
groups the haredi employment program would target would be the several thousands
of yeshiva students who will receive exemptions from military service under the
terms of new legislation now making its way through the Knesset.
as 28,000 haredi men will be able to gain complete exemption once the bill
passes into law.
Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman said the most important goal was
getting haredim to join the workforce.
“Let’s remember that tens of
thousands of haredim are going to receive letters freeing them from service [so
they can] go to work over the next few years,” said Lipman.
“We need to
provide them with the ability to be trained for work and to find work, and
that’s what we’re doing.”
The State Comptroller’s Report has nevertheless
leveled criticism at the government for not doing enough to increase haredi
The report revealed several deficiencies in government
programs, noting that some of the projects were not ready for implementation,
that sufficient oversight had not been established for the initiative, and that
in some cases, not all budgets allocated for the different programs had been
Committee chairman Amnon Cohen of Shas said there were still
bureaucratic obstacles for haredim seeking to enter the workforce, and expressed
concern that employers would not want to hire haredim because of their outward
During the session, United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler
called for considering religious studies to be on par with academic studies,
arguing that many academic degrees are not relevant to entering the
He also called for legislation to guarantee equal
representation for haredim in the public sector.
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