Europe’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) attacked the low work force participation of yeshiva students and those in the Arab sector in its 2023 Going for Growth report published Tuesday.
The European alliance recommended that Israel condition child allowances — a government assistance program provided to every Israeli parent in the country — on participation of fathers in the work force.
The OECD also recommended the government stop subsidies to yeshiva students, and increase funding for schools in the Arab sector.
Israel’s treatment of its yeshiva student population has long been a major issue for the country’s coalition governments, including that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, due to the rising haredi population in the country and the participation of religious parties in the coalition.
The report offers OECD member nations structural changes to help encourage long-term and sustainable growth. It includes general recommendations as well as a review and individual recommendations for each member country, including Israel.
In the section on Israel, the report notes that socioeconomic gaps remain wide, and noted the haredi and Arab sectors reflect low participation in the labor market — particularly in the high-tech arena — in addition to their earning lower wages and working a lower number of hours.
In addition, the report noted that the proportion of workers living below the poverty line is high, and that the wage gap between men and women stands at 24.3 percent — second only to the wage gap in South Korea.