Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer told foreign correspondents this week that one of the greatest challenges faced by the Israeli economy was dealing with poverty in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) population, and that the problem was worsening.
Fischer spoke on Monday at an annual closed gathering of foreign correspondents in Israel. Today, one of those present at the meeting, commentator Matthew Kalman, published his remarks on his blog. According to Kalman, Fischer said that the problem of poverty was particularly acute in two sectors of the population: Arabs, and haredim, but that while the problem was reducing in the Arab sector, among haredim it was worsening.
Kalman reports Fischer as saying, "This is not sustainable. We can't have an ever-increasing proportion of the population continuing to not go to work. So it's going to change, somehow or the other. The question is does that change happen in social conflict, in political conflict, or can it be helped to happen consensually and constructively?"
About 10% of Israel's population are haredim, and about 20% are Arab.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 21, 2010
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