Computer keyboard [illustrative]..
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
AxiomSL, a developer of software for the global financial services industry, opened a office in Jerusalem on Sunday staffed largely by employees from the haredi sector.
Increasing haredi employment and integration into the workforce has been identified as a critical requirement for Israel’s economy in recent years. The emphasis, however, is not only on increasing ultra-Orthodox participation in the work force, but also on providing haredi workers with a path away from entry-level positions to mid- and high-level jobs to maximize the potential of the sector, increase its earning potential and develop a haredi middle class.
“The issue of haredi employment has a central place in the [future] vision of the State of Israel and we are devoting great efforts and resources in the Economy Ministry to advance this goal,” said Amit Lang, director-general of the Economy Ministry.
“Israeli society is thirsty for the integration of haredi men and women into the work force and in as broad a number of fields as possible. We are convinced that this process, which is taking place slowly, will accelerate, continue forward, and be of real value to the status of haredi society among the broader public and economy.”
When considering its options for opening a branch of the firm in Israel, AxiomSL contacted the Economy Ministry for its input, and the ministry, which has a dedicated program for employment training and placement for haredi men and women called Kivun, advanced the idea of bringing in employees from the haredi sector and the company agreed to the proposal.
Axiom and Kivun then worked together to identify the employees they wanted, including haredi programmers and software analysts.
Although starting out with 10 employees, eight of whom are haredi, the company wants to expand to 50 staff members in the Jerusalem office within a year.
Ronin Plantner, 32, married with three children, is one of Axiom’s new employees. Plantner has a traditional haredi background, having studied in ultra-Orthodox institutions for his elementary and high school education before studying in yeshiva until the age of 25. When he left the yeshiva, he decided to embark on the civilian service program offered to haredi men by the state as an alternative to military service.
Following his civilian service, he enrolled at the Merkaz Academy Lev-JCT college in Jerusalem, which has a program designed for students from the haredi community. After completing a year of preparatory study and then a three-year degree in computer science, Plantner worked for a company developing smartphone applications, before he began looking for new work and was contacted by Kivun regarding the opportunity with Axiom.
Another new Axiom employee, Mayanna Sebbah, 33, is married with five children. She, too, is from a classic haredi background, with her husband studying full time in yeshiva, but also doing a small amount of work as a religious scribe.
Sebbah, who has a degree in computer science and worked for Intel in the field of quality assurance while completing an engineering degree, will continue in that area for her Axiom.