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The Globe and Mail

Diamond polishing in Israel in need of fresh blood

Diamond manufacturing is a dwindling trade in Israel, but the industry and the state hope to correct that by recruiting ultra-Orthodox Jews to work as diamond polishers.

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A British diamond dealer inspects a raw diamond on the trading floor of Israel's diamond exchange in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, Oct. 30, 2012. About a third of rough diamonds produced in the world each year pass through the Jewish state and diamonds account for more than a fifth of the country’s industrial exports.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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Visitors stand in the Harry Oppenheimer Museum in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, in this file photo. The museum features some of the world’s rarest diamonds and other precious jewels.

GIL COHEN MAGEN/REUTERS

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews work in the trading room of Israel’s diamond exchange in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, on Oct. 30, 2012. The country has one of the world’s hottest diamond exchanges, but polishers and cutters of the precious stones have been replaced by cheaper workers in newer hubs such as India and China.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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Diamonds are seen on the trading floor of Israel's diamond exchange in Ramat Gan.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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Diamond dealers work on the trading floor of Israel’s diamond exchange in Ramat Gan. At the peak of manufacturing in the 1980s, there were 20,000 people cutting and polishing diamonds in Israel. That has dropped to about 2,000.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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Yair Sahar, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange, listens during an interview in Ramat Gan Oct. 30, 2012. The diamond industry has launched an initiative to recruit ultra-Orthodox Jews to work as diamond polishers, aided by government subsidies.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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An Israeli worker checks a yellow diamond as it is polished at a factory in the diamond district in Ramat Gan.

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A yellow diamond is scanned during polishing. The diamond trading floor in Ramat Gan is the biggest in the world. Armed guards escort non-members and on one wall are mug shots of problematic dealers whom customers are urged to avoid.

NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

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Israeli diamantaire Avraham Eshed displays a diamond at the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan in this file photo.

GIL COHEN MAGEN/REUTERS

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