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Dec 19, 2008

Reverse Discrimination - or not?

The definition of "Reverse Discrimination" is: Discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group, especially when resulting from policies established to correct discrimination against members of a minority or disadvantaged group. (from Answers.com)

"Affirmative Action", on the other hand, refers to policies that take gender, race, or ethnicity into account in an attempt to promote equal opportunity.(from Wikipedia.com)

In a parliamentary discussion on the topic of applying Reverse Discrimination and increasing the employment of Arabs in the public sector, the discussion turned to including the Haredi public in the "Reverse Discrimination program".
Attorney General Manny Mazuz spoke out against including the haredi public in the program. His reasoning makes sense according to the definition of reverse discrimination. He said that the reason why haredim are under-represented in the public sector is not because of a bias against hiring Haredim. Proof is that there are some haredim working in the public sector. Any reason for their under-representation is for other reasons (i.e. they do not want to work, they do nto want to work in the public sector, etc.).

Based on that, Mazuz opposes including haredim in the RD program, while he does include the Arab sector because he says they are under-represented because of bias and racism.

While on the concept of Reverse Discrimination itself Mazuz might be correct, or I should say it is at least debatable what the reason for haredi under-representation is, their is perhaps another consideration that should be considered. That is, does the government wish to encourage the haredi public to join the workforce?

The government, and the public, talks like it does. There is frequent criticism that the haredim do not work, and do not share the burden with everyone else. The government should find ways to encourage haredim who are willing to work to go out and apply for jobs. Even if they have not been unduly discriminated against (and who is to say that Mazuz is correct, even if that is not the reason for most of the haredi public not working), the government should include haredim in their preferential hiring program as a way of encouraging them to join the workforce.

It might not be called "reverse discrimination", rather it would be called"affirmative action".

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