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Bank of Israel: Only 39% of Haredi men work

ספטמבר 21, 2010. Haaretz: Nati Tucker

Poverty is more prevalent in the Haredi community than among the public at large, stated Karnit Flug, head of research at the Bank of Israel, during the debate. Moreover, the rate of poverty among Haredim has been worsening far more than in other population sectors during the last decade, she warned.

Flug had statistics to back her words. She showed that 59% of Haredi households lived in poverty in 2009, compared with 38.2% in 1997 - a dramatic increase in 12 years.

A survey by the weekly journal Mishpacha claims that 55% of Haredi men work.

Meanwhile, in the Arab sector, poverty in 2009 was also high: 53.3% of households. In the Jewish sector as a whole, including Haredim, the rate was 12.9%.

Though not everybody at the Bank of Israel panel concurs, Flug finds a correlation between the poverty rate and the employment rate. The lower the proportion of a community that works, the higher the rate of poverty, she said. Among Haredim, only 39% of the men work, Flug said - though the trend of finding jobs, among both men and women of the community, has been modestly increasing.

Regarding graduate degrees, again the Haredim find themselves in a minority. Only 5.2% of Haredi men hold academic degrees, compared with 13.5% among Israeli Arabs and 28.6% of the general population.

Among Haredi women, the situation is better: 13.3% of them hold degrees and 74% completed an advanced study course of some sort, from graduate studies to post-high school courses.

There are grounds for optimism as far as education is concerned. The number of Haredim studying at institutions of higher education rose fivefold, from 375 in 2005 to almost 2,000 last year.

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