(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.
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.”