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The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry is preparing a plan to introduce tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox men and women into the general workforce. Today, only 26.5% of the Haredi population is employed outside of the ultra-Orthodox sector, says the ministry. In most cases, those Haredim who do work, only 52% of men and 61% of women of working age, are employed within their community; usually in public service jobs such as teaching and childcare, or various social services. Very few work in industry. At the same time the ministry is working on two other plans to help bring Arab women and the disabled into the workforce.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer presented his three plans yesterday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The cabinet will set a monetary incentive for employers willing to accept workers in the various plans, possibly in the form of tax breaks and direct payments for each employee hired. In addition, the plan includes industrial areas near Haredi towns to enable women to work close to home.