A letter signed by 280 senior economists in Israel expressed their opposition to government budget proposals that include a significant increase in funding for the Haredi sector. The proposals are due to be submitted to parliament this week. The economists warned that the movement of funds within the framework of the coalition agreement will be a significant threat to Israel’s economy. The allocation of resources to informal Haredi educational institutions without mandatory supervision and full basic research will do significant and long-term damage to the future of the country as a prosperous nation. The government is urged to reconsider the distribution of funds and address the dire problem.
The signatories of the letter include former Director of the Ministry of Finance Professor Avi Ben Basat, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel Professor Avia Spivak, Professor Eitan Szesinski, and former Chairman of the National Economic Council Professor Eugene Kandel. According to the letter, the budget proposals will deprive Haredi children of the opportunity to acquire essential basic skills and reduce their motivation to integrate into the job market.
Nearly 25% of children under school age in Israel are born into Haredi households, and that figure is expected to double by 2050. The government is urged to make significant improvements to the entire education system, including the Haredi education system, to enable integration into the job market. Adults should receive incentives to do so. The letter also warns that the government’s actions will push the future of the Israeli economy toward the third world.