Haredi with IDF soldiers 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
The first haredi pre-military academy to be funded by the Defense Ministry will
open this August in the Jordan Valley.
News of the establishment of the
Hararei Tzion academy on Wednesday came amid heightened tensions surrounding the
issue of haredi enlistment in the IDF, as well as an attack against a haredi
soldier carried out by a mob of ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem on Tuesday
Graduates of the academy will serve as combat soldiers in the
Netzah Yehuda Battalion of the IDF’s Nahal Haredi unit.
instructions from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the Defense Ministry, together
with the Education Ministry and the Regional Council for the Jordan Valley,
published information on Wednesday about the academy.
“We are right now
in the middle of a gradual and historic process in which the number of young
haredi men enlisting in the IDF is continually increasing,” Ya’alon said
regarding the opening of the new academy.
“We are doing this not by
brandishing a sword, but gradually, with tolerance, while having recruited
leading haredi figures in the ultra-Orthodox community to help us in this
important social process, which will contribute to the IDF and Israeli
In the first stage of its operation, the academy will accept 20
haredi youth from around the country, preparing them for enlistment and engaging
them in religious studies and community work in the Jordan Valley.
staff, including the director and instructors, is to be made up of haredim who
served as officers and NCOs in Nahal Haredi.
According to a statement by
the Defense Ministry, emphasis will be placed on the participants’ haredi
identity, while at the same time giving them the tools to prepare for army
service and contributing to the state as IDF recruits and Israeli
The academy will be located at the site of the former Gadi
military camp near the Masua settlement.
According to Jordan Valley
Regional Council head David Lahiani, the buildings at the base were renovated
over the past year.
“We are happy to be part of this historic process,”
Although the facility will be the first pre-military academy for
haredim to be funded by the Defense Ministry, there already exists a privately
funded academy catering to haredi youth. It is wary of publicity out of concern
for its activities and students, and thus remains little-known.
Wednesday, Ya’alon also announced that a Hesder program for haredi men was being
opened at Moshav Nehalim, near Petah Tikva.
Hesder programs combine Torah
study and army service.
Participants, who are overwhelmingly from the
national- religious sector, usually serve 16 months in the army and study for
three and a half years in a yeshiva.
The haredi program at Nehalim, which
will also offer an emphasis on hi-tech, will be called the Netevei Torah
Ve’technologia Hesder Yeshiva.
It is designed for haredi boys aged 17 and
upwards who are interested in combining “substantial military service, Torah
study and the acquisition of a profession in hitech, which will prepare
graduates for integration into the work force.”
The program will last for
four years, including two years of military service and two years of yeshiva
study.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.