Proposal: 33,000 New Jobs

Committee says Israel can add 33,000 new jobs per year beyond natural growth; Steinitz promises jobs for hareidim, Arabs.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 8:00 PM

Hareidi man at work
Hareidi man at work
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Committee for Investigating Employment Policy in Israel has submitted its suggestions to Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. The report states that if Israel takes the right steps, it could create 33,000 new jobs each year, in addition to the jobs created by natural growth.

Creating new jobs would boost Israel's economic growth and could also bring up wages among the bottom 20% of earners, said committee head Professor Tzvi Eckstein, the deputy head of the Bank of Israel.

"This is one of the largest and most extensive research projects on this topic that has ever been conducted in Israel,” said Ben-Eliezer. He expressed hope that the findings would be a turning point in Israeli policy.

"The Israeli job market is one of the most complicated on earth, but also provides many opportunities,” he said. “If we succeed in reaching our goals regarding higher employment in minority sectors, among the hareidi-religious and among the handicapped – we will find ourselves in a totally new reality when it comes to the Israeli economy.”

In addition to submitting his far-reaching report to Ben-Eliezer, Eckstein spoke Wednesday at the 18th Caesaria Economic Policy Planning Forum. He warned that Israel's policy of allowing in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers is hurting Israeli laborers, who are forced to take lower wages, or in some cases, are forced out of the job market completely.

Steinitz: More Hi-Tech, More Jobs
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz addressed the Caesaria Forum as well. Like other speakers – among them Professor Yossi Tamir, Dr. Yosef Jabareen, and Minister Eli Yishai – Steinitz focused on employment among Israel's minorities, particularly Arabs and hareidi-religious Jews.

"The integration of the Arab and hareidi sectors [in the workforce] is critical to the future of Israel's economy,” he declared. “We intend to heavily invest in order to change the current trend.”

Among his ministry's plans is the reductino of the number of foreign workers in Israel, “which is critical to creating new jobs for Israelis and for raising salaries in several fields of work,” he said.