Monday, December 29, 2014

Why is Charedi poverty in Israel getting worse?

Mishpacha magazine in English reviewed a report by the Taub Center in Israel which offered some suggestions.

One big reason is the "third generation effect". In 1979, 85% of Charedi men 33-54 worked. In the years that followed the percentage dropped to well under 50%. That percentage plummeted as Menachem Begin and the Likud removed the limits on army exemptions for Yeshiva students allowing the kollel only generation to really take root. The generations that grew up in the 1980's and later were raised with a torah/kollel only mentality Those who became long term Avreichim in the 1980's and 1990's had working parents to help them out and therefore were able to manage albeit living simply. However, these Avreichim are now marrying off their children and have no money to help their children at all. Therefore, the children are having a hard time making it at all even living simply as they simply don't have the money to pay a mortgage, buy food, clothing, etc. for a large family. The next generation will be even worse off as this generation at least has grandparents who worked who can help out a little, in 10-20 years even the grandparents will have been in kollel and will have no money to help out.

In other words, the Charedi community as a whole is running out of money. Generations of not working takes its toll on the resources and the hard earned money (and German war reparations) from 2-3 generations ago are basically depleted.

The report concludes, "this is something that should be worrisome, first and foremost to the charedi sector itself".


bluke said...

Exactly. This is nothing new. It seems to me (in discussion with charedi individuals about this) that the effect is real but is pooh-poohed away because its manifestation is slow and gradual. Charedi society doesn't always do a stellar job at recognize the slow and gradual, everything is "in the moment", so to speak.

bluke said...


So to summarise, haredi society will at some point implode due to lack of funding? Unless taxpayers come to the rescue , which is the other part of the equation and will inevitably increase tensions with non haredi society . I guess whilst in the long term is equally as unsustainable, it might work for a while, but it would drain Israel of crucial resources which could better used elsewhere.

I'm not too sure how non Jewish countries such as the US , Canada or UK would deal with paying for welfare for people whilst they continue studying Torah and not getting any secular education and not contributing much in return: it'll be interesting to see if the diaspora community respond differently compared to the Israeli haredi, as they don't have the ability to legislate and form part of the government like they do in Israel.