In the last few days there have been a lot of articles in the Israeli press (both Charedi and non-Charedi) about how Israel has the largets umber of people living in poverty percentagewise in the developed world (over 17%). This has turned into an attack on Netanyahu's policies and a call for more government help for the poor.
The fact is that these numbers are very skewed by the Charedim and the Arabs. The Charedim are between 7-9% of all the poor in Israel and more then 50% of Charedim are living in poverty. However, Charedi poverty cannot be laid at the governments doorstep. Charedi poverty is by choice/idealogy.
There is no other subgroup in the developed world which believes in the following 2 ideas:
1. No secular education
2. Every adult male should be sitting and learning in Kollel
When you add in the large families it is a wonder that the level of poverty is not higher. If adult males do not work, that is asking for poverty and cannot be blamed on the government. Even if they do work, in the modern world, without higher education it is very difficult to make a living, period.
Therefore, if you take out the Charedi factor from the poverty statistics poverty in Israel would be about 10% of the population which is very much in line with Western Europe.
The Charedi world wants to have its cake and eat it too. On one hand, teach their children no secular studies and sit and learn and not go out to work, while on the other hand crying foul when the government decides to cut back the subsidies for that lifestyle. The Charedi world cannot expect the average Israeli taxpayer to subsidize their life.