Bank of Israel Chairman Stanley Fischer called the chareidi birthrate a “problem,” during a farewell address at the International Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, Arutz Sheva reports.
“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 chareidi and Arab sectors. It must be dealt with.
“Another problem is the demographic problem. The growth rate in the chareidi population is 4.2%, which means the chareidi 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.
Fischer has made similar statements in the past. In 2010 he warned that chareidi unemployment is not sustainable, and said that the rate of growth in the chareidi sector is “of concern.”
In response, UTJ MK Rabbi Meir Porush said, “Blessed is the chareidi birthrate,” adding: “This preserves the demographic balance of the State of Israel. It should be encouraged.”
UTJ MK Rabbi Yaakov Asher said that Fischer’s words could be construed as derogatory against the chareidi public.