Israel’s poorest minorities, Israeli Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox, have long been urged to integrate into the workforce to improve their financial state. However, a survey published Sunday by a government agency revealed that a large percentage of employers are loath to hire workers from these communities.
The findings of the study, commissioned by the Economy Ministry’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, show that 42 percent of employers “would prefer not to” hire Arab men, while 37% said they were disinclined to employ Haredi men.
Prejudice levels against both Arab and ultra-Orthodox mothers of young children were high as well, though lower than toward men, at 41% and 27% respectively.
“The survey data raises difficult questions regarding public attitudes in general and employers’ attitudes in particular toward employees from different communities,” commissioner Tziona Koenig-Yair wrote in a statement.
The results of the study were based on 500 Jewish respondents, the majority of which hold higher degrees. Despite their education, “in evaluating whether to hire Arabs or Haredim they relied on prejudice and stereotypes,” Koenig-Yair wrote.
In addition to appraising hiring practices, the survey found that among both employers and employees, 46% expressed reluctance to work with an Arab male; 30% said they had reservations with regard to working alongside an ultra-Orthodox male; and 28% were resistant to working with an Arab woman.
On February 18, Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug attributed hindered economic growth to the low levels of employment among Israeli Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men.
The government figures came out a day ahead of a March 31 conference at Bar Ilan University focused on employment equality.