Bank Chief: Ultra-Orthodox Must Start Working

Fischer Also Warns of Falling Home Prices

By Haaretz

Published February 02, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The ultra-Orthodox have to start working, companies have to stop bilking their bondholders and home prices could wind up falling too hard and too fast if the government isn’t careful, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said in a stinging address on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center, Fischer stressed the danger posed by a fast-growing population where work isn’t the norm. “In 30 years, the proportion of the Haredi population will be much bigger,” the governor said. “Most of that community doesn’t work. I respect religion, but a state of affairs in which part of the population growing very fast doesn’t work can’t go on.”

Israel’s demographic trends in general are cause for deep concern, Fischer said. “The proliferation of the Arab and Haredi communities is faster than that of the non-Haredi Jewish population, and their proportion of the general population is increasing,” he said.

“Among the Arabs, population growth has moderated a little, but among the Haredim it’s the opposite. I hold the Haredi community in the highest esteem, but I have to say that continuing growth by a population segment that doesn’t work can’t go on forever. It has to stop.”

Moving on to the latest haircut fashion in the investment world, his address took a caustic turn.

“Haircuts” — when companies partially default on bond debt — have become all too common and casual, Fischer said.

“There is a problem with the way the [Israeli] bond market works,” he said. “The former chairman of the Israel Securities Authority, Zohar Goshen, was perturbed about bondholders being unable to reach reasonable arrangements with defaulting companies. So he invented a new animal: the credit officer. That worked big time,” Fischer said sarcastically.

“Debt arrangements are constantly being reached before it’s necessary. There has been a change in the way the market grasps bonds. A bond is a loan that must be repaid unless you’ve gone bankrupt.”

For more, go to haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.