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It’s no secret that we have a problem in the U.S. tech industry with regards to the low percentage of females in tech positions at our leading tech companies:

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Source: The New Yorker As Reported By The Companies
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Source: Altneret.org

A Quick History Lesson

In 1912, fourteen years after Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress, the Orthodox opponents of Zionism met to organize their own political movement. This group — today we would call them ultra-Orthodox — established Agudah, an unequivocally anti-Zionist movement. Agudah eventually downplayed its anti-Zionist bent to enter the political life in Israel as the main representative of the Haredi (Ultra-orthodox) population. Today, most Haredi Jews have made their peace with the state of Israel. They represent about 10% of the Israeli population, but are growing at 4X the rate of non-Haredi in Israel, as the number of children per Haredi female is 6.7 (vs. 3 for the average Israeli female). As a result, the share of Haredi among those under the age of 20 is over 17% of the total population under 20.

The Problem

While Haredi employment is on the rise, the most recent figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics on employment rates place Haredi women at 69.3% comparable to 71% for the women’s national figure, while just 44.5% of Haredi men are employed, far below the 81.5% national rate for male employment. And even those with jobs, are generally employed in low paying sectors. As a result, poverty rates are around 60% for the Haredi.

One Piece of The Solution

In 2007, the Kemach Foundation was founded to provide educational opportunities, economic development and opportunities for employment for the Haredi. Through philanthropy and government funding the Foundation now enjoys a a $22 million budget it uses to provide individualized career assessment, academic and vocational scholarships and job placement for the Haredi in Israel. The Foundation is managed by the Haredi themselves, as they are most familiar with the community’s needs. Since 2007, more than 20,000 Haredi have received the services of Kemach, and more than 8,000 have received scholarships to fund their academic or vocational studies. Other organizations helping the Haredi on the eudcational front include the JDC, the Lev Academic Center, Yedidut Toronto, and Atidim — Halamish.

Another Piece of The Solution — Kamatech & the Kamatech Accelerator

The dearth of orthodox engineers in the tech industry, and the lack of military connections that tie together so much of Israeli society, has left orthodox graduates of tech schools without the networks that are so helpful in securing employment.

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A Model For The Rest of the World To Follow

When I think of the tech scene in Israel, I will no longer think of it just as Startup Nation, but also as Mitzvah Nation. The tech industry in any country can’t solve all the nation’s problems, but it can come together and start solving its own problems, including the problem of inclusion. And in so doing they will be helping themselves, their country, and the entire world, as the next Facebook, or Google, or Tesla, is as likely to come from those not coming from the traditional paths, but only if they’re given the tools to succeed. Only if they’re given the opportunity to participate and contribute. Only if we help them help us.

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Believe Crypto is the biggest thing to happen in the history of mankind. Focused on stablecoins (founded JustStable.com) & communities (founded. CryptoMondays)

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