Nefesh B’Nefesh has recently announced an updated policy banning postings for positions in the Forex and Binary Options industries on their popular Jobs in Israel Facebook group, proving once again to be tone deaf to the needs of its constituency. When asked for the rationale for removing these positions, NBN Social Media Director Shara Shetrit responded, “We’ve had a lot of complaints. Risks and detriments outweigh the benefits. It’s not hard to find these jobs and we’d like to make room for other positions in this group.”
Which, of course brings up two separate issues. First, what is the cost benefit analysis of listing Forex and Binary Options jobs? And second, will cutting out these postings magically “create room” for more jobs to be added to the group?
Let’s begin with the argument that Forex and Binary Options positions have risks that are not shared by other industries. As I noted previously, although the Forex industry has a bad reputation, the Israeli marketplace is fairly well managed and provides higher than median salaries for brokerage employees. And as of 2015, Israeli brokers fall under the jurisdiction of the Securities Authority, which under legislation passed in 2014, now grants both limited and full licenses upon deposit of substantial reserves of capital.
Additionally, the new laws require brokers to perform due diligence to confirm that traders are aware of the high risk nature of Forex trading, and that they have the means to participate in this type of investing. By forcing higher standards upon Forex brokers, the Securities Authority is promoting a better experience for traders and more stable environment for potential employees.
Given that the Forex industry is thriving on an international level, calling for ever increasing numbers of English speakers for sales, customer service, and administrative roles, what is the actual downside of passing these positions along to NBN’s target market of new immigrants, many of whom are complaining about the lack of opportunities, and some of whom eventually give up and return to America, Canada, and the U.K.?
It seems that the greatest risk is of offending the prudes who feel that Forex and Binary Options are immoral, or the less savvy former employees, who having failed to do a proper investigation of their employers, fell prey to being taken advantage of. As I am writing during Passover, this seems a perfect opportunity to note that one person’s immoral may be another person’s imperative (as can be attested to by my secular co-workers’ passionate desire for ham sandwiches right now), and perhaps if an activity isn’t actually illegal, that we as adults have the ability to “pass over” opportunities which we find to be inappropriate.
And unfortunately, I can vouch for the fact that there are Israeli employers in every industry willing to cheat you out of money or legally obligated benefits. Striking out an entire class of jobs will not protect people who are not capable of asking around for reviews of companies, or who are so desperate that they overlook red flags such as highly improbable earnings forecasts. NBN is not our parent, and they cannot save us from ourselves!
Now let’s consider whether it is necessary to remove Forex postings to make room for “better” jobs. First off, from my experience, the NBN Jobs in Israel typically has between 10-25 job postings per day. The list has a subscription of over 15,000 people. Many of these subscribers are like me, gainfully employed and not particularly engaged. Others have not yet made Aliyah, and merely want an idea of the potential job market. However, it is unlikely that the number of job postings the group provides is sufficient to support the jobseekers using NBN as a resource. Which calls into question any decision which reduces the number of listings, especially one that threatens to do so drastically.
Furthermore, the beauty of a Facebook group is that there is no limit to how many job postings can be added. Forex and Binary Options jobs cannot somehow crowd out other positions. If you are too busy to scroll through the job listings for the last few days, perhaps your main concern should be time management, as opposed to demonstrating against Forex.
Even worse, NBN themselves has placed people into jobs at Forex and Binary Options companies. I know of one individual who, after spending three years without work, was contacted by NBN about an opening with a Binary Options brokerage. He has now been a Sales Manager for over a year, earning above the average wage for Israel, no mean feat for someone lacking the more sought after job skills, such as programming or web development.
I see this as an offshoot of the Chu”l mentality that there are things that “we Jews” do not deign to do. If you are not a professional, you are a failure. If you don’t work in high tech, you are not “one of us.” In America, this attitude may work, and in fact, might seem necessary, given the cost of living a Jewish life in terms of extra food and educational expenses. Here in Israel, if the only thing that sets you apart is mother tongue English, it would behoove you to make use of that advantage by any means necessary. And if NBN wants to pay more than lip service to the idea that they care as much about Anglos staying in Israel as they do about bringing us over in the first place, perhaps it’s time they gave up the censorship and just helped us earn a living.