Israeli Finance Minister Releases Plan to Incentivize Haredi Men to Join the Workforce

Feb. 17 2022

The Israeli finance minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has frequently clashed with ḥaredi leaders, unveiled a plan this week to draw ḥaredi men to the workforce by “halving the hours spent in religious study in return for the same state stipend.” About half of ḥaredi men work while the rest study during the work week and receive state funding—a practice dating back to the formation of the state, when the ḥaredi population was far smaller. As Steven Scheer notes, this arrangement has long concerned economists and policymakers.

The Bank of Israel and economic leaders have warned of long-term strains on the budget if they are not integrated into the workforce—especially with the ultra-Orthodox population forecast to grow from 12.6 percent last year to 32 percent by 2065.

Under his plan, Lieberman—who has long believed ultra-Orthodox men should earn a living not based on handouts—said he would cut the hours men spend studying to 20, while still giving them the same state stipend.
“This will allow them to go to work,” he said.

Lieberman has already proposed requiring that both parents be employed to receive state subsidies for child daycare.

Read more at Reuters

More about: Avigdor Lieberman, Haredim, Israeli economy

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada