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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bank of Israel Chairman: Haredi birth rate 'a problem'

Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer, who is resigning from his post, complained in his farewell address that the Haredi birth rate is 'a problem' (Hat Tip: Aryeh Z).
“The economy is facing several challenges, which is basically a nice word for ‘problems,’” Fischer told his audience. “Poverty is a central issue. There is intolerable poverty in the hareidi and Arab sectors. It must be dealt with.”
Hareidi and Arab lifestyles play a large part, he noted, citing low participation in the workforce as an example. However, he said, the state of Israel cannot use that as an excuse, but rather, must encourage adults in those sectors to join the workforce.
Fischer then made a more controversial statement, “Another problem is the demographic problem. The growth rate in the hareidi population is 4.2%, which means the hareidi population will double within 17 years. The Arab population will double within 25 years, while the rest of the population has a 1.7% growth rate, meaning it will double itself in 40 years.”
If the trends continue, he warned, secular Israelis will be in the minority within 50 years.
Polls show that only 20% of Israelis self-define as secular. Fischer was apparently referring to all Israelis who are not religious Muslims or orthodox Jews as secular.
Something tells me that Fischer didn't make comments like that when he was a banker in the US. He wouldn't have had a career left. But here in Israel, making comments that are worthy of Der Sturmer is acceptable so long as the comments are limited to attacking Haredi Jews. 

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At 4:52 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Worthy of Der Sturmer? That's a bit strong, IMO. Before the advent of the welfare state, a couple who had children were expected to support, raise, and see to the education of those children. Anyone else's involvement, including the beit din or gabaei tzedakah, was in the realm of assistance. A man and woman who got married did so knowing they have the primary responsibility to support and sustain their family. For a population to grow with little or no plan or intention of supporting itself is, in economic terms, a very big problem indeed. It is, in blunt terms, parasitic. The burden can easily outstrip the society's means to support it, and then poverty and the attendant misery increases. How is that not a problem? If the haredi and Arab sectors were contributing more than they take from the national economy, he wouldn't have said that, no matter how many children they have.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

He didn't seem to care about Arab birth rate.

I remember years ago the official party line bragged how the Arab birth rate climes after the six day war


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