Israeli Arab men retire around age 40 to 44: Study

Physical nature of work and government aid programs explain early-retirement pattern

Israeli Arab men retire earlier than men in Europe, the United States and other Arab countries, as well as Israeli Jews, according to a new study.

The survey conducted by the Bank of Israel's research department found Arab men in Israel retire, on average, between the age of 40 to 44.

"The drop in the employment of men in Europe begins after the ages of 50 to 54, while in the U.S. there is a more gradual drop after the ages of 55 to 59. Among Israeli Arabs the hump is shorter and sharper, both in relation to Palestinian men in the territories and to other Arab and Muslim countries," stated the study.

According to the researchers, an important factor explaining Arabs' retirement from the workforce at a relatively early age is the high rate of Arabs employed in professions requiring physical fitness. As they age, they are less able to keep up with the physical demands of their jobs and thus retire early.

Also, these workers have access to income from various government aid organizations, which allows them to retire once their physical abilities diminish, found the researchers.

The study also found only 20 per cent of Arab women in Israel work. But there is a big variance in the participation rate between "modern" and "traditional" women, which can also be seen in differences in education, marital status and number of children.

Traditional Arab women in Israel hardly participate in the labour market while there is a significant rate of modern women taking part in the labour market, found the study.

"There is a finding that women's participation rates are much different than what is common in Western countries and among Jewish women in Israel, and are not significantly different than the rates in Muslim countries. This finding reinforces the conclusion that this is the result of cultural influences," stated the study.

The researchers note that these findings stress the need for a governmental policy which will help raise women's participation levels and reduce men's early retirement among Israeli Arabs, particularly in light of the negative ramifications of the participation patterns on the Israeli Arab society's social-economic situation.

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