Stanley Fischer
Former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, now vice chairman of U.S. Federal Reserve. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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The rate of growth among the ultra-Orthodox, in which a majority of men don't work, is an economic problem, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said earlier this week.

Speaking with foreign journalists, Fischer spoke about the deepening poverty among the Haredi community. Meanwhile, the situation in terms of poverty among another relatively impoverished group, Israeli Arabs, is improving, the governor said.

If 70% of the men in 10% of the population don't work, it becomes a problem of macroeconomic magnitude, Fischer said. The Haredim as a group are growing faster than the rest of the population. Moreover, he said, that speaking with figures in the Haredi community, it is apparent they do not grasp the problem.

The situation is unsustainable, Fischer warned: 60% of Haredim live in poverty and the proportion is rising. "We can't have an ever-increasing proportion of the population continuing to not go to work," Fischer said.