Press Release

IDI Hurvitz Conference (cont.): Security and stability in an equal burden of IDF service & efficient civil service sector


The Israel Democracy Institute's (IDI) Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society continued Tuesday afternoon with sessions on the economic and social ramifications of an unequal burden of service, focusing mainly on the efforts to integrate Israel’s ultra-Orthodox into the military, followed by a session on the challenges in the Israeli civil service.

The conference continues tomorrow with sessions on the impacts of the war on the labor market, achieving economic revival in the North and the South of the country, impacts of global trends on the Israeli labor market, and a session in English on regional cooperation as a lever for future prosperity.

Click here to watch the livestream, and keep an eye on IDI's X (formerly Twitter) for real-time updates and quotes in English.

Highlights from the Afternoon

Yossi Shelley, Director General of the Prime Minister's Office, regarding October 7: "I think that after it was said that the government was not prepared - the government is functioning reasonably well. It is investing half a billion shekels in youth at risk. We did everything possible. We built six schools. We enacted hundreds of decisions to implement solutions to remove barriers, we established the “hamal” (war room) for global information…” He continued, "You know that in the civil service, things are not done in a minute. I want to thank those volunteers who lent their hand in the first two weeks, but the government got to work. I'm glad that there is governmental support and that there is less and less need for volunteers.”

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Orna Barbivai, Former Head of the Manpower Directorate of the IDF; Former Minister of Economy and Industry: "In 2022, the OECD Secretary General asked me to explain how Israel is a start-up nation on the one hand, and on the other hand, there are groups that do not do core studies in school. I said there is a single word that explains it: politics. There is no contradiction between Judaism and the labor market, and the needs following October 7 are the order of the day."

MK Avigdor Liberman, Chair of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party: "First of all, when it comes to professional civil servants, this is something that is a class that is disappearing. As the Minister of Finance… I made clear to the public servants that I work with you, I don’t work for you. But it’s very important that the professional class is always able to present an alternative, that they can debate with the ministers and aren’t afraid to present an opinion, even if it’s not accepted by the Ministers."

Adv. Shlomit Ravitsky Tur-Paz, Director of the IDI Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for Shared Society: “There are those who are used to blaming Haredim for the fact that they do not serve, but the problem is with the state, which incentivizes Haredim to stay in yeshivas, which does not recruit Haredim even in the absence of an exemption law, and which continues to fund yeshivas despite repeated violations in the condition of their funding. The question is not what Haredim will say or do, but rather what state officials will do…”

Tomer Lotan, IDI Policy Advisor about new research: “We didn’t only ask which government ministries need to be closed, but also what we need to build and create. We presented a proposal that includes three phases. The first is that we’re not only dealing with the ministries, but with the divisions and agencies for which they are responsible. One level below the minister. We found solutions for 300 different divisions. The second innovation is that we presented a solution for the political problems that arise. And the third is that the proposal includes a mechanism that provides relative protections from possible changes when a new coalition comes into office.”

Adv. Avraham Yustman, Vice President of the Kemach Foundation: “The question of conscription, or non-conscription, has reached this state as a result of the policies that were implemented. There is no Haredi man who does not feel uncomfortable. He lives in the same country, it’s never comfortable, and it’s never pleasant. The question is how do we resolve this serious issue while recognizing that religiously, Torah studies are of the highest value.”

Noam Zussman, Principal Researcher at the Research Division, Bank of Israel: "The effect of the Haredi demographic growth on the GDP, according to an estimate made by the Bank of Israel, is that if Haredi men and their level of education do not align with those of the general population, then we are talking about a loss of 6 percent of GDP, and in terms of GDP today, this causes damage of NIS 100 billion."

As noted by IDI President Yohanan Plesner, the task before the conference today "is to assist in rebuilding public trust in the country’s ability to overcome the ongoing crisis, as we’ve done in the past, and resolve our fundamental challenges.”

These efforts continue tomorrow morning, Wednesday, at 9am.              




The annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society—formerly the Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum—is widely recognized as Israel's most influential economic conference. Inaugurated in 1993 as Israel’s first major policy forum, the conference was originally conceived by Finance Minister Avraham "Beiga" Shochat and IDI founder Dr. Arye Carmon as a forum for policymakers, business leaders and academic experts to debate national policy priorities ahead of the passage of Israel’s annual budget. Each year, the Conference examines Israel's macro-economic policy and focuses on other key issues, which have included environmental policy, inequality, the war on terror, globalization, education, transparency, and local government.