Bank of Israel Chief to ultra-Orthodox Community: Get Jobs

Stanley Fischer proposes tapping pool of human resources within Haredi sector to minimize poverty.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Monday called on the heads of the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel to promote employment among Haredi men and women in order to minimize the prevalent poverty among them.

During a conference for the ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem, Fischer said that the low employment rate among the Haredi men and women was the root cause of for the high incidence of poverty, higher than any other sector in Israeli society, including the notoriously poor Arab sector.

According to Fischer, 60 percent of the ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel were defined as poor in 2008, and that number has only grown since. "There is an enormous pool of human resources in the Haredi sector, which, harnessed, could contribute another driving force for growth to the economy, while also minimizing the poverty," he said.

Addressing the general financial situation in Israel, Fischer said that the economy is beginning to display signs of growth over recent months, with exports up in May and June and imports up during last month as well. The Bank of Israel combined index has risen for the first time in 11 months, he added.

"We have a strong economy, but unemployment is rising and there is also inflation in Israel," Fischer said. "Right now, we just don't know when the market will begin growing again."