´Haredi, Arab unemployment an existential threat´ (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 06/03/12)
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The extent of haredi [ultra-Orthodox] and Arab non-participation in
the economy is an existential threat, Prof. Eugene Kandel, head of
the National Economic Council to the Prime Minister told the Keshev
Committee on Sunday.
According to Kandel, should current unemployment trends in haredi and
Arab sectors continue, the government will not be able to fund
Kandel presented the Keshev Committee, formed to propose a bill that
would require all citizens to do civilian or military service, with
recommendations on how to build a system of economic incentives, both
positive and negative, to encourage these populations to serve.
Keshev Committee chairman MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) instructed the
Finance Ministry and the National Economic Council to come up with
economic sanctions and incentives that will lead to "significant
service," stop current trends and "put Israeli society on a new path
of participation in the economic and security burden."
Sar-Shalom Gerbi, Director-General of the National-Civilian Service
Administration, presented the committee with its plan to increase the
amount of volunteers, adding that the IDF should still have
preference and choose who will serve in the military.
In order to increase the amount of volunteers, Gerbi suggested that
service be increased to 18 months for those who are married and 24
months for single people. Those who are not married can be sent to
jobs that require longer training periods, which will give them the
tools to join the workforce when they complete their service.
Gerbi also recommended increasing the monthly stipend given to those
who serve, and providing them with free public transportation.
IDF Planning and Manpower department head Brig.-Gen. Gadi Agmon said
the IDF can enlist thousands more soldiers in different programs.
Agmon also said the IDF must be able to continue to choose who will
serve in the military, as it does today, and the length of civilian
service should be similar to that of joining the IDF.
Those doing civilian service do not risk their lives or have to
report to reserve duty, Agmon pointed out, and therefore, those in
the military should receive additional benefits.
Some of the IDF´s suggestions to increase haredi enlistment include
reducing the age for unmarried soldiers in ultra-Orthodox programs
from 22 to 20, and making rabbis responsible under law for false
reports of students in their yeshivas.
On Tuesday, 12 NGOs and research institutions will present their
stances to the on the topic of haredi and Arab service to the Keshev
Committee. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/03/12)
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