Doing our part
Housing subsidies need change
83% of Jewish Israelis believe housing subsidies should follow the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, as opposed to current policies which overwhelmingly favor the ultra-Orthodox population, who in large part do not seek to join the work force. President of Hiddush, Rabbi Uri Regev, called on government officials to heed the call of the Israeli public.
Housing Minister, Ariel Atias from Shas in the Knesset.08.03.2010. Photo: Miriam Ulster, Flash 90
83% of Jewish Israelis believe in making housing subsidies conditional on willingness to work to your ability. That is, to grant subsidies only to those who work, are trying to work, or are unable to work. Only 17% were opposed to these conditions.
Currently, ultra-Orthodox employment stands at around 40%, many of whom are employed half-time or less. In addition, 114,000 men are publicly funded to study in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas.
These findings, a result of the poll done by the Smith Institute for Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel, show support for the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, which was formed in response to Summer 2011’s social protest movement. None of Trajtenberg’s recommendations with regards to the ultra-Orthodox community have yet been implemented. In fact, Minister of Housing, Ariel Atias of Shas, released new housing guidelines recently that not only made no mention of these recommendations, but continued to show deep favoritism in housing subsidies for the ultra-Orthodox community, his constituents. Knesset Minister Moshe Gafni has also stood vocally against Trajtenberg’s recommendations for the ultra-Orthodox.
The study was conducted at the end of March 2012 and surveyed a representative sample of 500 Jewish Israeli adults. 90% of secular and traditional respondents as well as 95% of recent immigrants (mostly from the Former Soviet Union) support such requirements of housing subsidies. The biggest surprise of all, however, is that more than one-third of ultra-Orthodox respondents themselves believe in such stipulations.
Rabbi Uri Regev: The people are sick of the government selling out the public in the State budget.
By political party, respondents replied thus: 90% of Likkud voters support subsidies being based on work or attempt to work, 89% of Yisrael Beiteinu voters support such conditions, as do 64% of religious voters on the right.
Hiddush President, Rabbi Uri Regev, said “This study proves the dissent of the general public against government surrender to the dictates of Ministers Atias and Gafni. It’s doubtful is anyone who demonstrated in last summer’s tent protests imagined that the outcome of those demonstrations for affordable housing would end with even more help for yeshiva students and those who refuse to join the workforce at the expense of those who desperately need affordable housing.”
According to Regev, “The people are sick of the government selling out the public in the State budget.” Regev called on Netanyahu and MK Mofaz, the new opposition leader from Kadima, to form a civil coalition that will fulfill the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, including enforcement of core curriculuar studies in ultra-Orthodox schools, only 20% of which receive subjects such as math, science and English . “Only then will the future of Israel’s economy be safe” Regev said.
See The Jerusalem Post’s coverage of Hiddush’s study