“As someone who wants to implement the integration of haredim into the workforce, the haredi battalion [of the IDF] and academia, I say to you that until today the state has not taken one step or reached out its hand,” haredi Interior Minister Eli Yishai claimed, insisting that haredi integration into the job market and the military “should be allowed to develop according to its own norms and in its own fashion” at its own pace and not through what he would call coercion and demands.
At Haredi Hi Tech Conference, Most Politicians Pander For Haredi Votes While Haredi Pol Blames High Haredi Unemployment On The Secular Government – Not On The Tens Of Thousands Of Haredim Who Chose Not To Work
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Jerusalem Post reports that Rabbi Shai Piron – a Zionist Orthodox rabbi and yeshiva head who is also the No. 2 candidate on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid political party’s Knesset elections list – told a gathering of high technology, academic and political leaders along with more than 200 haredim that haredi leaders have created an entire generation of haredim who are unable to support themselves.
Speaking Tuesday in Jerusalem at a symposium billed as the “first-ever conference” on hi-tech entrepreneurship, innovation and employment for the haredi community, Piron was blunt and direct.
“We are calling out to the haredim because we need them. Haredi leaders have to stop relating to the State of Israel as an enemy of the Torah,” going on to argue that this mentality has “damaged Judaism,” forming “a generation of frustrated people who can’t support themselves.…it is forbidden for a yeshiva be an ir miklat [city of refuge],” Piron said, used to allow people to avoid participating in the work force.
Interior Minister and co-head of the Sefardi haredi Shas political party Eli Yishai disagreed, arguing that the state had not done enough to promote haredi participation in the workforce or to get them to voluntarily join the military.
“As someone who wants to implement the integration of haredim into the workforce, the haredi battalion [of the IDF] and academia, I say to you that until today the state has not taken one step or reached out its hand,” Yishai claimed, insisting that haredi integration into the job market and the military “should be allowed to develop according to its own norms and in its own fashion” at its own pace and not through what he would call coercion and demands.
Haredi rabbinic leaders have banned most higher education. Many talmud torahs and yeshivas for males up to age 18 do not teach any secular studies at all, even math. Just this week, Ashkenazi haredi leaders published a campaign ad for the upcoming elections criticizing the government for trying to force them to teach students “Greek” math – i.e., basic math, geometry, algebra and calculus. These same haredi rabbinic leaders have banned military service except for a handful of haredim at the very fringe of their community who have already given up on yeshiva study and who spend their days on the streets.
The leader of the right wing Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi political party Naftali Bennett also spoke.
Bennett, who is a hi-tech entrepreneur in his own right, has been courting haredim with the hope that the sizable minority who choose not to vote for haredi parties will vote for HaBayit HaYehudi in Tuesday’s national elections. He claimed that haredim had a lower chance getting jobs in hi-tech because of the unjustified stigmas attached to haredi workers. Bennett called on hi-tech directors to employ haredim “who do excellent work.”
Bennett recently came out against drafting haredim, instead announcing a scheme to reward those Israelis who serve without punishing those who do not – unless those who do not are university students. In that case, Bennett’s party wants to double their university tuition. Haredim who do not serve would still receive their normal full basket of government stipends and welfare benefits.
Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of conference co-sponsor JVP and the No. 11 candidate on Labor’s electoral list, argued that Israel could “leap forward” if haredim decided to enter the workforce. He reportedly claimed that there is no reason for haredim to partner with “the extreme Right.” Instead, he said that a “work covenant” should be made with haredim to focus on integration into Israeli society “together with a logical and sane political path.”
The Labor Party’s leader Shelly Yachimovich has repeatedly urged finding ways to get more haredim to join the workforce while downplaying the issue of drafting haredim, calling it a distraction from the country’s real problems. Any government formed by Labor (if it were to win enough seats to be asked to form one) would almost certainly require the support of haredi political parties.
More than 400 people, mostly haredim, reportedly attended conference.