Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox to integrate in civil service

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Israel's Cabinet, at its regular weekly meeting on Sunday 20 December, approved a plan by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and Negev, Galilee and Periphery Development Minister Aryeh Der to integrate the ultra-orthodox population in the civil service.
by ANT KATZ | Dec 21, 2015


These new recommendations, tabled and approved by Cabinet, include a series of steps, the goal of which is to increase the representation of the ultra-orthodox population in the civil service and ensure that the civil service will receive the outstanding candidates from amongst the ultra-orthodox population.

Implementation of the recommendations will lead to the annual integration of over 150 academic employees from the ultra-orthodox population in the civil service in the coming years.

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RIGHT: File picture for illustrative reasons only

“Today, the Cabinet will approve steps to integrate the ultra-orthodox population in the civil service. The integration of all sectors in Israel in the labour market is very important both for them and for the continued economic growth of the State of Israel, to build up its economy and – of course – to reduce the social gaps,” said Netanyahu.

“We want to integrate the ultra-orthodox public in both the public and private sectors. We want them to be integrated into the labour market, and today is an important step in that direction.”

Change is on the way

“The number of ultra-orthodox in the civil service is negligible and this we intend to change – it is a kind of affirmative action. For decades I have been hearing complaints from ultra-orthodox that they have been unsuccessful in being accepted to jobs in the public service despite having served in the IDF and having various academic degrees,” Minister Aryeh Deri told Cabinet.

He said that ultra-orthodox candidates “are rejected outright for various reasons even at the stage of presenting their resumes.”

Deri told the Cabinet that “In the framework of the plan that the government will – with G-d's help – approve today, dozens of ultra-orthodox will be integrated into the civil service per annum, (rising) to hundreds of positions by 2020.

“The ultra-orthodox will study in various tracks, a kind of cadet's course for ultra-orthodox, and will receive preferential treatment in civil service tenders,” he said.

Those who want to work, can't

This plan has a clear message, said Minister Deri: “The state wants to integrate more and more ultra-orthodox in the civil service. Today, a clear message is going out to the private sector – integrate ultra-orthodox into the labour force. I have no doubt that you will also gain thereby; the ultra-orthodox will gain as will the entire country.”

Many Israelis complain about the ultra-orthodox who do not want to join the army or the workforce, many do, in fact, serve in the army and, although they want to integrate into the workplace economy, most of those who do want to work find it hard to find people willing to employ them.

The decision taken yesterday will contribute to the integration of the ultra-orthodox population into the labour market and thereby contribute positively to the economy, said a Cabinet spokesman after the meeting. “It is also designed to signal to the business community regarding the latent potential of integrating the ultra-orthodox population.”

In the framework of the decision, “the ultra-orthodox population will be made increasingly aware of the possibilities of employment in the public sector. Inter alia, the advertising of positions in the ultra-orthodox media will be increased, online recruitment will be adapted to search engines used by the ultra-orthodox population, and the relevant examinations will be evaluated in order to facilitate equal opportunities,” said Cabinet’s spokesman.

The decision includes various recommendations for increasing the integration of groups within the civil service, the principal one of which is establishing tracks to increase awareness in which candidates are accepted for starting positions for a limited time and can afterwards compete in internal civil service tenders.

The decision proposes the creation of tracks of this kind including a civil service cadet's course for outstanding candidates from among the ultra-orthodox population.

Ministries to assist

Similarly, in coordination with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, a number of tracks will be opened for integrating the ultra-orthodox population in the state health system in coordination with the academic professions being studied in the ultra-orthodox sector and with the civil service professions in which there is a shortage.

Some of the ways being mooted to fast-track implementation:

  • Create a plan for outstanding academics from the ultra-orthodox population. These outstanding academics will receive a "green track" to enter key posts in the civil service and enjoy high level support and training. The goal is that these outstanding candidates will advance to significant administrative and professional positions in the civil service;
  • A database of ultra-orthodox students will be created in order to integrate them into the civil service, and after their studies will enable them to compete in internal tenders; and
  • Tracks will be created in the government health system, including the integration of medical laboratory workers and technical professionals (such as radiographers, MRI technicians and nurses from among the ultra-orthodox population.

In order to monitor the implementation, a steering committee headed by the Civil Service Commissioner will be formed, which will evaluate the degree of success in increasing the integration of the ultra-orthodox population in the country.

The decision is based on the recommendations of the panel on integrating the ultra-orthodox population in the country that was established in May 2014.

The team was headed by the Prime Minister's Office Director General and included the Civil Service Commissioner, Ministry of Finance Budget Director, Ministry of Economy Director General, Ministry of Science Technology and Space Director General and the Deputy Attorney General (Legislation), as well as representatives from the National Economic Council, the Ministry of Health and the Council for Higher Education. 

1 Comment

  1. 1 Denis Solomons 23 Dec
    The ultra-orthodox want to pray all day and attend a Yeshiva but they also have to do their military duties.
    The majority of them do not want to hold a rifle but they also have to serve the country.
    the situation is similar to that in South Africa where conscientious objectors object to serving under the National Defense force.
    We live in interesting times.

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