(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Seeking both to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge as well as
contribute to the country’s hi tech- oriented economy, the Israel Defense Forces’
Telecommunications Division has recently begun recruiting girls in the 11th
grade for Project Hadarim, Hebrew for “citrus.”
Division, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of its founding on Sunday, is
working together with both the Microsoft Corporation and the Education Ministry
on the computer training program.
Established four years ago, Project
Hadarim involves a series of extracurricular activities aimed at preparing the
students for their upcoming military service and totals 150 hours of academic
courses aimed at “exposing the girls to the world of information technology and
software, thus increasing their chances of joining the Telecommunications
Division and developing the female presence in this sector.”
afternoon classes, which are being held in cities such as Be’er Tuviya, Ramat
Gan and Petah Tikva, are based on materials being provided by the American
According to Maj. Nava Rimberg, who heads the
program, the first graduates are now beginning to see the end of their military
service. While she could not provide exact figures, Rimberg stated that many
participants in Project Hadarim were planning on extending their terms of
service or signing up for officer training school.
There are currently
150 girls in the program, she stated.
The girls “learn the fundamentals
of technology,” Rimberg said, explaining that some young women do not have the
opportunity to study technology on a high level and that she believes this
program can give its participants the ability to get involved in something that
can sometimes be daunting to them.
She added that the program can also
provide opportunities that may be more open to their male
Pending completion of their extracurricular studies and
their admittance to IDF training courses following basic training, the women of
Project Hadarim “can enter all the computer professions in the
Michal Katz, an IDF commander and computer instructor, was a member
of the first group of high school students to be recruited for the
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post, Katz stated that she was
recruited when an IDF representative came to her school seeking young women
interested in learning about computers.
“They came to my school and spoke
about this program and then picked girls,” she said.
In an email on
Thursday, the IDF told the Post that the program was organized for girls that
have not had the opportunity to “learn technology at school” and that, by
providing lessons that “increase the chances” that these future soldiers will
serve in computer- related fields, participants will be more likely to obtain
work in the software sector after their enlistment expires.
Telecommunications Division, the IDF said, is “not only an army division, but a
pioneer in the national technology” sector.
The army’s computer units
have served as something of an incubator for many of the ideas that have
sprouted into successful start-ups in Tel Aviv’s so called “Silicon Wadi.”