King David hotel in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Economy Ministry’s Investment Center on Wednesday authorized paying out NIS 10 million to encourage hiring from communities with low labor force participation rates.
The money will go to 16 hotels that employ Arab, Beduin, Druse, ultra-Orthodox, people with disabilities, and single parents.
Over half of the sum will be paid out to hotels around the Dead Sea, and another quarter will go to other establishments in the periphery.
“The allocation track, carried out for the first time, is intended to incentivize the tourism industry – headed by the largest employers in the industry, the hotel industry – to include workers usually excluded from the labor market,” said Nahum Itzkowitz, the director of the Investment Center.
The program, he added, could help reduce stigmas against employing people from the given populations and increase their employment prospects in the future.
Economists have warned that integrating Arab women and haredi men, in particular, will be crucial for Israel’s medium- and long-term economic health.
Earlier in the week, the Economy Ministry and Joint Distribution Committee held a three-day conference on haredi employment.
Speaking at the conference, President Reuven Rivlin addressed the difficult dynamic between the haredi community and the largely secular one trying to get them into the labor force.
“The non-Orthodox refer to the haredi community as a minority – as an ever-growing minority but a minority nonetheless, which can be dictated to and upon whom we can impose various ‘solutions,’ even if they are totally contrary to their worldview,” he said. “On the other hand, the ultra-Orthodox regard themselves as a persecuted minority, who need to defend their values, principles and ability to survive.”
Different camps in Israeli society cannot dictate to the haredi public, how and what is the right way to educate their children, or how to conduct their lifestyle, he added.
The solution, he said, would require asking the ultra-Orthodox community for a solution, and also the secular public to remove prejudice and hire haredim despite their differences.