A way of life (Illustration)
Photo: Gabi Menashe

Factory owner introduces 'Jewish incentive program'

Owner of Sderot factory offers employees who agree to observe mitzvahs pay raise, in effort to bring them closer to religion

Is it moral to offer payment for observing mitzvahs? Felix Bilik, who owns Bilik Felix Metal Industries in Sderot sees nothing wrong with the practice.


Over the past two years, Bilik has offered to add NIS 400 to the wages of any employee who starts observing religious ordinances. The act, he said, is not a missionary, but rather a legitimate way for his employees to make some extra cash.


"Felix had made the offer available for all of his employees, so nobody tries to cheat him," Igor Nisanoff, one of the factory's employees, told Yedioth Ahronoth.


Since the offer was made, many of the factory's employees have indeed become more religious, organizing groups who break for morning and noon prayers and Torah studies.


"I know my employees don’t wear their kippa all the time… but I love all of them and treat all of them equally," said Bilik.


Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, however, frowns on the initiative: "Encouraging people to observe mitzvahs is always good, but paying them for wearing a kippa and changing their behavior in problematic.


"The wearing of a kippa is an expression of a way of life one observes through faith, education and conviction - not through a monetary incentive."


Attorney Shai Teken of the Histadrut Labor Federation called Bilik's initiative "outrageous," adding it constitutes religious discrimination and violates the Equal Opportunity Act.


David Regev contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.30.08, 18:06
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