JERUSALEM (AP) — New statistics indicate that after years of growth the number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in Israel's workforce has begun to decline.
The Israel Democracy Institute, citing official figures, says Monday that ultra-Orthodox male employment dropped from 51.7 percent in 2016 to 50.3 percent in 2017, halting a steady rise.
Gilad Malach, an institute researcher who specializes in the community, says the main cause is renewed subsidies to seminary students provided by a government that relies on the support of ultra-Orthodox parties.
For decades, the ultra-Orthodox have leveraged their significant political power into maintaining a segregated lifestyle. They run a separate network of schools, enjoy sweeping military draft exemptions and raise large families on taxpayer-funded handouts. But previous government programs, and a push from within, have led to increased integration.