Haredim to be offered job training in civilian service

Civilian and National Service Authority is about to offer haredi men new program aimed at helping them enter the work force while performing alternative service to military duty.

By JONAH MANDEL
January 20, 2011 06:30
2 minute read.
Haredim

Haredim 311. (photo credit: buyitinisrael.com)

The Civilian and National Service Authority is about to offer haredi men a new program aimed at helping them enter the work force by allowing them to focus on vocational training and higher education while performing alternative service to military duty.

The new initiative, developed under the auspices of Civilian and National Service Authority head Sar-Shalom Jerbi, will initially expose haredi participants to different courses of study and professions. In the next stage, those seeking to go on to academic studies will be entitled to take part in a preparatory program, while those who wish to learn a trade will, based on market demand, be able to undergo training.

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Army duty, or alternative civilian or national service, is a prerequisite for young haredi men seeking to join the work force – which has been a growing phenomenon in light of the global economic downturn that has diminished financial support from abroad. While legal limitations on employment might be removed at the end of a civilian service stint, a young haredi man who has dedicated most of his life to Torah study would not necessarily have sufficient tools or training to start a career without the new initiative.

There are currently 1,582 haredim taking part in civilian service, in the fields of welfare, public security, public health, immigration absorption and environmental protection, according to data provided by the Civilian and National Service Authority.

The new initiative is expected to be up and running within the next few weeks, and the authority is hopeful that it will encourage more haredim to join the civilian service track and, eventually, the work force.

Different bodies involved in promoting haredi employment, such as the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, JDC-Israel’s Tevet (Poverty-to-Employment) Initiative and the haredi-managed Kemah Foundation will be providing training and assistance.

Jerbi praised the Finance Ministry for its assistance in promoting the vocational training and higher education program, which is projected to cost over NIS 10 million a year for 1,000 participants.



“The civilian service will provide stimulus for preparing haredi volunteers for the labor market, while taking advantage of the fact that they receive an allowance that enables more availability for academic or vocational training,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. He added that the program “will break the cycle of kollel students staying in their yeshivot, not contributing to society, not joining the work force and perpetualizing poverty upon their families.”


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