Do US Tax Dollars Support Foreign Aid to Ultra-Orthodox Israelis?

RedTracker| Reading today’s NYTimes article Benefits Granted for Full-Time Torah Study Are Questioned in Israel, it seems logical that in the midst of America’s own deeply-felt financial crisis, we taxpayers have the right ask if we are paying increasing numbers of ultra-orthodox Jews not to work.

Israel received about $3 billion in foreign aid from the US this year and 20 percent of our total foreign aid. Three-quarters of that aid must be used for military hardware made by US companies. Note, I’m not clear if the workers are American citizens.

More than 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men in Israel do not work. They study a version of the Torah that says my voice is corrupting. They will not shake my hand. 50 percent of the wives of Israel’s increasingly Orthodox ‘haredim’ don’t work, compared to 21 percent of mainstream Jewish women.

In Israel, as elsewhere in the world, the focus is not to offend the ultra-Orthodox because they are militants wherever they live.

Today is the first time I understand clearly, that US taxpayer dollars that could be used to retrain workers in America are paying the ultra-Orthodox in Israel not to work. The idea offends me deeply as a humanist and as a woman.

Foreign policy is complicated, and I clearly undertand the impact of Israel buying American weapons on our economy. I would like to know if the workers must be Americans versus Chinese, South Koreans, or workers in any other country but America.  Anne