Druze More Likely to Be Self-employed

The average monthly wage for a Druze worker in Israel was NIS 6,500 a month in 2003. This was 29 percent less than the average monthly wage for a Jewish worker - NIS 8,400.

In addition, the rate of participation in the labor force among the Druze is 42.8 percent, compared to 69.9 percent among Jews. The proportion of Druze women who have entered the labor market is particularly low, only 27 percent compared to 69 percent among Jewish women.

All these figures are part of a study of Druze employment released by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.

Public services, in particular local authorities, and industrial plants are the chief source of income in the Druze community, with 21 percent of Druze workers employed in industry, as compared to only 16 percent of Jews. The public service sector employs 41 percent of all Druze workers, compare to only 35 percent of Jews.

The number of self-employed among the Druze community is significantly higher than among Jews - 18 percent compared to only 10 percent.

Only 14 percent of Druze women work outside their hometowns or villages, while 45 percent of Jewish women do. On the other hand, Druze men are more mobile than their Jewish peers: 60 percent leave their hometowns for work, while only 54 percent of Jewish men travel.

The number of households with only a single wage-earner is over twice as high among Druze as among Jews: 53 to 24 percent. This figure goes a long way toward explaining the gap in household income between the two sectors.

Nevertheless, the rate of unemployment among the Druze is much lower, at 7.5 percent, than the 10.5 percent among the Jewish population. IThe rate of unemployment among Druze women is extremely low in comparison. "The gap results from the tendency of Druze women to leave the work force after losing their jobs," according to the report. But if we add together the high number of part-time workers, along with the number of those who have given up on finding work, as well as the number of unemployed according to the usual definition, we find that the number of Druze who have problems finding full employment is much higher than among the Jewish population - 17 percent as compared to only 6.3 percent, according to the survey.

Among those reporting employment problems, the number of Druze who have given up hope of finding work is 46 percent, as compared to only 6 percent among Jews.