January 19, 2019

Haredim Aren't as Poor as You Think

“Over half of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) community lives below the poverty line, the figures say. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 53% of haredim are below the poverty line, the same proportion as in the Arab sector and much higher than the 9% poverty rate among non-haredi Jews. Average monthly per capita income in haredi society is NIS 3,500, half of the average for non-haredi Jews and only a little higher than in Arab society.

Despite these stark figures, a paradox exists. Haredim do not consider themselves as poor, nor do they behave that way. A new book of figures and research by the Haredi Institute for Public Affairs, reported here for the first time, shows that no less than 71% of the haredim are satisfied with their economic situation, compared with less than two thirds of the non-haredi Jews and 53% of the Israeli Arabs.

Furthermore, less than 8% of the haredim feel that they are poor, almost the same figure as for non-haredi Jews. On an index of general satisfaction with life, the figures show that an incredible more than 98% of the haredim report satisfaction with their lives.

It is not just a question of feeling. Less than 10% of the haredim had to go hungry occasionally because of a lack of money, compared with 5.6% of the non-haredi Jews and over 14% of the Arabs. The level of health in the haredi sector is one of the best in Israel. For example, the life expectancy among residents of Bnei Brak, a mostly haredi city, is almost the same as in Givatayim, even though Bnei Brak is one of the poorest cities in Israel.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"