Reevaluating discrimination: Only 10 of the 4,623 people employed by the Haifa Municipality are ultra-Orthodox, and only 5% of Ashdod’s municipality consists of new immigrants - even though 35% of the city’s residents are recent olim. These figures and others similar to them were presented Thursday during a session held by the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, and succeeded in convincing the committee to amend a new bill proposal.
A study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center among eight municipalities shed light on a oft-overlooked situation: While the ultra-Orthodox sector comprises 2% of the population, they represent only 0.2% of the local municipality's employees. Hadera has the highest rate of ultra-Orthodox employment - 10 out of 880 employees identify as such (11.4%.)
A similar lopsided situation was found amongst new immigrants, whose presence in municipal halls is twice as low compared to their demographic percentage.
In the Ashdod Municipality for example, new immigrants constitute 5% of employees - however they represent 35% of the city's population.
In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv the numbers are slightly more encouraging for new immigrants, though still considerably low. In Jerusalem the number of employees who have recently come to Israel stands at 390. In Tel Aviv it is 609.
After the study was presented, the committee voted to amend a bill that has already passed it preliminary and first readings, originally meant to help prevent employment discrimination of women, Israeli-Arabs and disabled individuals by local authorities. The bill will now be expanded to include new immigrants and the ultra-Orthodox.
Following the presentation MK Ophir Pines (Labor) requested a more comprehensive study be conducted into the employment of ultra-Orthodox and handicapped individuals. “When sectors are equally employed by the municipalities, the service provided to the residents will be egalitarian,” said Pines.
MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) spoke at the committee’s discussion, saying that the ultra-Orthodox are “the most discriminated against public. We are accused of being parasites who don’t want to work, when in actuality, ultra-Orthodox applicants are being turned down.”