More than half of Israel's ultra-Orthodox living in poverty

Findings to be presented to the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Tuesday.

Haaretz, Israel/November 7, 2010

Some 56% of the country's Haredi (ultra-Orthodox ) citizens live under the poverty line, and Haredim make up 20% of the country's poor, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has found. Yet they constitute only 10% of the population.

The findings, from a report on Haredi employment, will be presented to the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Tuesday.

The average gross monthly income of a secular household is NIS 12,000. But for Haredi households, it only half that: NIS 6,100.

Men who define themselves as secular earn an average of NIS 8,950 a month, versus NIS 6,100 for their ultra-Orthodox peers. Secular women earn NIS 5,700 on average, while Haredi women earn NIS 3,700.

Plus, 71% of secular people work at least 35 hours a week, while 52% of Haredim do.

Some 48,000 Haredim work in the business sector, a mere 2.3% of that sector's work force. Most Haredi women (66% ) and men (45% ) work in community jobs, education, health or public service. For secular women and men, the numbers are 42% and 20%, respectively.

On average, Haredim have more years of education than their secular counterparts - 14.2 versus 13.3. But most of that is in Torah institutions, which does not help them in the work force. And while 76% of secular men use computers, only 38% of Haredim do.

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