Torah And Deception In The Land Of Israel

Torah And Deception In The Land Of Israel December 29, 2010

Yesterday’s New York Times had a piece about the problem of voluntary Haredi unemployment in Israel.  There are currently 70,000 married men whom the government has classified as “Torah is their profession.”  (The Times article incorrectly states that there are 60,000.)  They are, therefore, exempt from army and supposedly studying in a kolel – a yeshivah for married men – all day long.  This is a permanent student exemption from military service which precludes them from seeking work.

With more than 60% of adult Haredi males unemployed, it’s no surprise that 56% of all Haredi Jews live below the poverty line.  What the article doesn’t tell us is that an enormous number of these kolelniks are also committing fraud.

In last weekend’s print edition of the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot there was an expose about the large number of them who work and receive payment under the table.  This way they don’t have to give up their subsidies, the kolels still receive state-paid tuition, and no one has to serve in the army.

The newspaper took out help wanted ads in the Haredi community and received an overwhelming response.  Yet almost none of the job seekers was willing to be paid legally.  Instead they tried to work out ways to get paid through a family member or in cash.

In addition to the handouts and free tuition, they also receive substantial discounts on a very large number of taxes and services.  According to the article, those who are cheating see no problem with it since the state is illegitimate in their eyes anyway.

There are signs of hope, but they are small compared to the size of the problem.  If you really want to worry about Israel’s future, this is what should worry you.

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  • I’ve read that economists in Israel are now saying that if they don’t get the bulk of these people off the welfare rolls Israel will be bankrupt within a generation.

    One of Shas’ ministers is calling for an increase in housing subsidies:,7340,L-4003058,00.html

    Meanwhile, there’s this:,7340,L-4003058,00.html

    (I apologize that I keep doing this, but I’ve grown too damn lazy to cut and paste the HTML codes. One of the drawbacks of Blogger.)

    Israel is dying, Jeffrey. I might have said this here the other day – I’ve been saying it a lot, lately – when Ben Gurion turned over control of all religious aspects of life to the uber-frum, he effectively signed its death warrant. But how could he have foreseen?

    In any case, I don’t think there’s any saving it.

  • Anonymous

    Israel was neither created, supported nor defended by the Haredi, but if things do not change, will be destroyed by them!

    The Reform Deist

  • Anonymous

    What does an atheist care if Israel continues or not?

    There is no “Judaism”…to the atheist its all made up.

    Sam Harris made it clear…they are to blame for their own victimhood.

    Dawkins has warned us in TGD about the Jewish Lobby, and Hitchens knows that we could have been “spared the whole thing”, as he puts it.

  • There is no “Judaism”…to the atheist its all made up.

    Even though it’s all made up, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real, in that there is a sense of collective identity.

    As far as Israel is concerned – there’s a lot of unnecessary suffering. It could have been a beacon of representative democracy in the Middle East, but it’s failing as a result of external attack and internal divisiveness.

  • Anonymous

    If its all made up, aport, it isn’t real.

    Its a delusion.

    If you accept the atheist take on all this, then it was just a big exploitaton scheme.

    Why bother?

    And Jews have always been prejudiced against the GOYS…don’t try to tell me that just means “non jew”, I have been to meetings of Jews. Its the “n” word.

    That ain’t gonna serve as a basis for any “representative” democracy.

    Being an “atheist” Jew is moronic.


  • Anonymous

    By the way, Cipher, the bigoted spew in your profile proves my point.

    So, if you can have your “collective identity” why can’t fundies?

    Richard Dawkins got your number.

    D Duke