The IDF is looking to "make a match" with a new generation of young haredi men, challenging stereotypes within the haredi community where some see haredi soldiers as "less desirable" matches.
In a new video campaign, the Israeli army highlights the advantages of military service for grooms-to-be and takes aim at the stigmas some in the haredi community have attached to enlistment.
The video takes a light hearted look at the “shidduch” industry, where matchmakers help young men and women find their future spouses. In it, a father is seen approaching a matchmaker, looking to find a husband for his daughter.
As the matchmaker opens up his shop he reveals young grooms stored like merchandise, complete with price tags and ranked by religiosity and career. Three young men are presented to the father of the bride, all with backgrounds typical for the haredi world (full-time Torah study followed eventually by low-paid menial jobs, due to lack of qualifications), only to be rejected.
The fourth, however, is marketed as a top-of-the-line model. Strictly religious, disciplined, and with good job prospects he can use to support a family, his army service makes him stand out from his peers.
Israel's haredi population has long enjoyed broad exemptions from army service offered to full-time yeshiva students.
But as the government has begun actively encouraging large-scale enlistment among haredim, some in the community have worked to stigmatize religious soldiers and discourage army service.
Even before the controversial draft law limiting exemptions was passed in May, 2014, some radical elements within the haredi community have targeted religious soldiers, labeling them “Hardakim” – a Hebrew play on words merging the terms for “haredi” and “insect”.