Navy turns to Whatsapp to speak to draftees

Conscripts may use messaging service to check their status, photograph and send in forms

November 26, 2015 02:55
1 minute read.

Icons of messaging applications WhatsApp of Facebook (L), Laiwang of Alibaba Group (C) and WeChat, or Weixin, of Tencent Group. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

In its quest to stay up-to-date with the latest communications trends among its draftees, the Israel Navy has taken to the Whatsapp messaging service.

Cmdr. Michael Bekker, head of the navy’s Tracking and Drafting Department, told The Jerusalem Post that the decision to open a Whatsapp channel was taken “in the course of our attempt to find the best draftees for combat service at sea.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Today, high school students eligible for the draft, as well as those who have already begun the conscription process, can use Whatsapp in an unlimited manner to gain information on their status, follow up on questions, and send the navy their forms.

Instead of using old fashioned faxes, Bekker said, the navy has begun speaking the digital language of the new generation.

“We set up a new communications channel, which is available all day. Draftees can simply photograph their forms or ID [using their cellphone cameras], and send them to us. They can text us on Whatsapp to make sure we received it. It increases our availability, and is very convenient,” he said. “When we tell draftees that they can stay in touch with our representatives after phone contact, we can hear them smiling on the other end,” Bekker added.

The initiative began two and a half months ago, Bekker said, adding, “It has proven itself. This does not replace phone calls, but it makes communications far more intensive and increases availability.”

The navy is not the first in the IDF to use Whatsapp, but it is the first to do so in the context of its conscription program.

The IDF’s Personnel Directorate gave its blessing to the program, he added.

The next step, Bekker said, is to upgrade the navy’s Internet sites, making them available to cellular web surfing. “Teenagers are flooded with information and we have

Related Content

National security advisor John Bolton at press conference at King David
August 22, 2018
Bolton: There was never quid pro quo for Jerusalem embassy move