________1Institute Chairman Eli Paley responded to an article in Haaretz, which claimed that the reason for the govrernment’s reduced investment in hospital beds and transportation infrastucture over the past 30 years was due to the increased political power of the Haredim. Here is an excerpted translation from Eli’s rebuttal:

“Aluf Benn’s article, “The Haredim are Playing with Fire” (Haaretz, May 8), and its raucous rhetoric, left me troubled and hurt. There is no doubt that due to the accelerated demographic growth of the ultra-Orthodox society, and its unique characteristics, the government must take a proper look at the facts and its processes, and prepare accordingly.

However, it is important that we have a reliable picture of the situation: to date, more than 50% of Haredi men have already integrated into the employment market (compared to 36% in 2002). Among ultra-Orthodox women, employment rates have already reached 76%, while the average rate in the OECD countries is 64.9%. The significant increase in employment rates stems mainly from the combined effort of the government and various civil society organizations – including untra-Orthodox philanthropists – to create training and placement programs suited to this population.”