In a debate at the plenum on Wednesday Knesset Member Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) talked about the demand of the ultra-orthodox to earn as much money as they can despite of the difficulties they have in getting a job. According to him the minister of finance has promised the ultra-orthodox public to take care of the working community and that reaching the best of their ability to earn money is one of the important parts of his agenda. That is also reflected in the Arrangements Law. Moses blamed the minister of finance for repeating slogans that blind the public: ”Have you checked where all the ultra-orthodox you send out to work are going to work?”
Moses says that according to the Central Bureau of Statistics the market has 62,600 jobs, over which are competing 245,000 unemployed, who are 6.7% of the labor force and about 340,000 ultra-orthodox over the age of 20 are supposed to join the labor force. In comparison to the general sector: 60% ultra-orthodox women work, whilst 80% of the women in the general sector, work and 45% of the ultra-orthodox men, as opposed to 85%. Ergo, for the percentage of working people in the ultra-orthodox sector to be equal to the one of the general sector, about a 100 thousand ultra-orthodox people need to find jobs. The meaning is, the 100,000 will join the 245,000 already fighting over jobs, all of that without counting the Arab sector in. ”As long as we don`t produce hundreds of thousands of new work places, there is no way to get job options for all those people.” Moses blamed: ”What is the point in establishing sanctions that are supposed to get those people out to work without making sure they have jobs available?”
Next, Moses presented the opinion of the Israel Bank Governor, Stanley Fischer, who says such an act should be done gradually, otherwise it would cause a drastic increase in unemployment, lower the workers` wages and would not create new job opportunities. Therefore, according to Knesset Member Moses, making the most out of the ultra-orthodox sector`s ability to work would not be possible under the current circumstances posed by the new government and its new policy. Moses accused the government and its agenda, shown in the new budget that will be up for vote next month, as hypocrisy.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) responded to Knesset Member Moses`s claims: ”If the ultra-orthodox are not integrated in the work market, the economy will crash.” He also said that every job respects its owners and that the problem is not a lack of jobs available in the market. Levy stated there is a shortage in construction workers, in agriculture, in metal work, computers and many more, in all of which can the ultra-orthodox work, after getting the right training, promoted by the government.
Levy also added that in 2010 the government adopted very ambitious employment goals, one of which was a destination of 63% ultra-orthodox men employed by 2010. In order to stand up to these goals, the government has been promoting programs to integrating that population in the job market. Amongst those programs: cutting down pensions and adding criteria that say a person who doesn`t work and is not useful to the market will not get pensions. At the end of his speech, the Deputy Minister of Finance asked to remove the issue from the agenda. His request was approved by a majority vote.