Soldiers at prayer in the field
Soldiers at prayer in the fieldIsrael News Photo:

Following in the footsteps of the Israel Air Force, the Navy and the Intelligence Corps have decided to run special recruitment programs for the hareidi-religious sector.

The service in the Navy will be a two-year stint, including technological training, an all-male environment and mehadrin kosher food. At the end of the two years, the hareidi soldiers will be offered the choice of continuing in the army as a career.

Hareidi-religious males have traditionally kept away from the army, concerned that their lifestyle and that of the army were mutually exclusive. The IDF, however, in the realization that there is a wealth of untapped quality manpower in the hareidi sector, is making moves to come towards them.

In August 2007, the Israel Air Force announced a plan to make the IAF a hareidi-friendly environment – and the program has gained a successful reputation. reports that several hareidi soldiers who served in the Navy have been asked in recent weeks if they would enlist as career officers, in order to serve as counselors and guides for the expected new young hareidi soldiers.

Qualifying soldiers must have at least two children and will serve in naval bases in the Haifa area. Their basic training period will be a shortened version, and they will then undergo professional technological training.

A similar program is being planned for the Intelligence Corps: The soldiers will be trained in computer science and hi-tech professions, and will work with classified information in bases in central Israel.  

The Intelligence program has been code-named Binah Yerukah (green insight), and will begin after the Passover holiday, some two months from now.