Young haredim want to study, open to army, work

Survey of 400 unmarried haredi students shows 70 percent see themselves continuing religious studies.

May 15, 2012 04:33
2 minute read.
NETZAH YEHUDA Battalion commander Lt.-Col. Dror Spiegel (left) talks to one of his company commander

Haredi Soldiers 311. (photo credit: YAAKOV KATZ)


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About 70 percent of young haredi (ultra-Orthodox) students see themselves spending an extended amount of time engaged in religious studies in yeshiva, according to research conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.

The survey published on Monday reviewed the opinions and attitudes of 400 unmarried yeshiva students aged 17- 20 from a cross section of haredi society including Ashkenazi hassidim, non-hassidim and Sephardim.

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The study asked respondents what percentage of their friends they estimated would stay within the yeshiva framework.

Seventy percent said half to most of their friends would remain in long-term Torah study, while 30% said they expected that very few of their friends would do so.

Results varied slightly over the different streams, with 85% of non-hassidic Ashkenazi haredim saying they expected their friends to stay in full-time study compared to 61% of hassidic respondents.

Between 15-40% of respondents, depending on stream, said they would only limit their time in yeshiva upon getting married, in order to learn a profession or enter an institute of higher learning to gain a foothold in the job market.

The current rate of ultra- Orthodox men participating in the labor market is 46%, according to new figures from the Bank of Israel.


The survey also examined attitudes among young haredi males about serving in the IDF.

Of those questioned, 41% said they would be very or moderately interested in joining the IDF’s Shahar program for haredi soldiers, with 59% saying that they had little or no interest in doing so.

The current annual rate of haredi enlistment is approximately 16% of the potential draft from that sector.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said the findings indicate changing trends in haredi society.

“More and more haredim are requesting to join the labor market,” he said. “So the new ‘Tal Law’ that will be arranged will provide an opportunity for the integration of haredim into the work force, which needs everyone available.”

Simhon added that his ministry is operating a number of different programs aimed at encouraging haredim to join the job market.

Simhon said that the government has approved the allocation of NIS 1.5 billion for stimulating the employment of minorities and haredim, in accordance with the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Report.

Approximately 60% of those surveyed said they preferred the religious services professions – with positions including scribes for religious texts, rabbinical judges, rabbis, kashrut supervisors and yeshiva teachers.

But at the same time, 51% of those questioned said that they would be interested in the field of “computers” and software testing, 38% in law, 33% in banking and 31% in accounting.

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