Dr. Gilad Malach on the Finance Minister's Decision Regarding Daycare Subsidies: "This is a welcome decision that will end the preferential treatment that ultra-Orthodox households have enjoyed"
Dr. Gilad Malach, Director of IDI's Ultra-Orthodox in Israel Program, on the Finance Minister's Decision Regarding Daycare Subsidies:
"This is a welcome decision that will end the preferential treatment that ultra-Orthodox households have enjoyed under the existing system in which families where the fathers are not working receive a governmental subsidy for daycare. Such a change in policy will increase the motivation for young Haredi fathers to enter the workforce, as opposed to the current reality where few incentives exist to encourage such a change."
According to IDI's Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel, employment for ultra-Orthodox men stood at only 50% during the years 2015-2020.
"Over the years," noted Dr. Malach, "fathers who sought to join the workforce were discriminated against. A Haredi man who succeeded in finding employment first of all lost his governmental subsidy and then his child many times also no longer qualified for state-supervised childcare. This would often result in the necessity to enroll the child in private, and therefore more expensive, daycare."
"Concurrently to this policy change, the government should also lower the exemption age for IDF service to the age of twenty-one in the new conscription law it is debating – as was already agreed upon in the coalition agreement between the various parties who are members of the government. This is necessary as many of the ultra-Orthodox men in their early twenties are already fathers to young children.
The combination of these two policy changes – lowering the military exemption age and providing subsidies only for working parents – will lead to Haredi men entering the workforce at a younger age. This in turn will improve their own personal financial wellbeing, while also positively impacting the economy as a whole."
Employed ages 24-65 by gender and level of religiosity, 2019 (%)
Monthly gross average income ages 25-64 by gender and level of religiosity, 2018 (NIS)