Chareidim, Arabs, Women Still ‘Losing Out,’ Study Shows

A job seeker fills out an application. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Despite ongoing government efforts for affirmative action, “out-groups,” including women, chareidim and Arabs are still victims of discrimination, in that their opportunities and salaries do not approach those of secular Israelis largely of Ashkenazic background. While some individuals of these disadvantaged backgrounds are able to excel and even earn excellent incomes, the best opportunities in business, high-tech, and other advanced areas are closed off to them.

The information comes from a report on equality issued by the Labor and Welfare Ministry, based on statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Besides the above-mentioned groups, other populations, including Ethiopian immigrants and individuals over 45 years of age were lagging in achievements in 20 specific advanced areas.

Top areas like programming and other high-tech jobs were largely the “property” of secular Israelis, and even those of other groups who achieved success in these areas earned less – as little as half as much, in many cases. On the other hand, workers from the Arab and Ethiopian sectors were overrepresented in blue collar jobs, gardening, maintenance and food manufacuring.

Of all the “disadvantaged” groups, chareidim were best off, the statistics showed. While fewer chareidim were employed in advanced technology jobs, the income gap between them and secular Israelis was less than between the latter group and members of other disadvantaged groups. Chareidim were overrepresented for their portion of the population in publishing, the legal area, and in accounting and bookkeeping.

Commenting on the study, President Reuven Rivlin said that “talent and accomplishment have no skin color, and no national or religious preference. The best way to change the situation is for those who are the ‘gatekeepers,’ employers and heads of industries, to take on the responsibility for doing so. I call on the heads of the economy to open opportunities for members of all these disadvantaged groups.”

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