The Silent Revolution: Mossad, Israeli police recruit haredi IDF veterans

Employment fair in Jerusalem attracted hundreds of ultra-Orthodox looking for jobs after their army service.

July 23, 2019 20:06
3 minute read.
The fair aimed to help ultra-Orthodox looking for jobs after their army service.

The fair aimed to help ultra-Orthodox looking for jobs after their army service.. (photo credit: ITZIK BELNITSKY/MINISTRY OF DEFENSE)

Representatives from Israel’s Mossad and the Israeli prison system took part in an employment fair geared to finding employment for ultra-Orthodox (haredi) IDF veterans.

Hundreds of such veterans took part in the “Profession for a Lifetime” academic studies and employment fair in Jerusalem last Wednesday that offered professional training and workshops detailing their rights preceding the completion of their army service.

This was the first employment conference of its kind, and was arranged by the IDF’s haredi administration, the Defense Ministry’s Social Security Division, and Amutat Netzah Yehuda, the civilian organization authorized by the IDF and the Defense Ministry to accompany haredi soldiers throughout their military service and beyond.

"Profession for a Lifetime" was the first employment conference of its kind (Credit: Itzik Belnitsky/Ministry of Defense)

The conference was attended by Social Security branch head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Tzin; Udi Dror, head of the Defense Ministry’s Recruitment Division; Lt.-Col Telem Hazan, head of the IDF’s haredi administration; and representatives of Amutat Netzah Yehuda.

A Mossad recruiter who took part in the conference was quoted saying: “I have been at a lot of employment fairs in recent years, and this is quantitatively the biggest and the most impressive fair that we have had. We are glad that we came.”

The conference was initiated by Dror, who was quoted saying that it was “crucial for making information accessible to ultra-Orthodox graduates and soldiers, as part of their preparation to get involved in Israel’s academia and job market after they conclude their military service.”

Addressing the soldiers and graduates, Hazan said that the job fair was organized in order to allow them to acquire life-long professional tools that began with their military service.

Reforms passed in the Knesset in 2014, which aimed to gradually increase ultra-Orthodox recruitment, have been met with stiff opposition from many in the religious community, which has historically been exempt from military service and has promoted regular demonstrations against the draft.

Hundreds of Haredi IDF veterans took part in the “Profession for a Lifetime” academic studies and employment fair in Jerusalem (Credit: Itzik Belnitsky/Ministry of Defense)

Nonetheless, there continues to be an increase in haredim who are drafted into the IDF.

“We at the haredi administration constitute a home for the haredi soldier in the IDF, and in collaboration with many good people, we will assist and accompany the many haredi soldiers who complete their army stint after a significant amount of service in the IDF’s haredi tracks,” said Hazan. “Your success is all of our success. There are soldiers here who are studying in a one-year program of the ‘Maof’ systems and projects department of the Lotam Telecommunications and Information Technology branch of the IDF, in preparation for their release from the army. You graduates are personal examples of those who are motivated and successful in life.”

Rabbi Tzvi Klebanow, president and co-founder of the Netzah Yehuda Foundation, expressed his gratitude to all those who have financially supported the foundation’s efforts over the past 20 years.

“We have now begun to reap the interest on our 20-year investment,” he said. “This event is yet another historic landmark for the Nahal Haredi. It clearly demonstrates the economic impact that the veterans of the Nahal Haredi venues are making on the Israeli economy.”
In March, Israel’s security and intelligence organizations launched a new initiative to reach out to members of the haredi community who are looking for employment.

The initiative targets young men between 24 and 34 with unique skill sets and abilities, and comes on the heels of a great effort on the part of Pardes, an NGO that works to integrate young haredim into Israel’s security organizations and institutions.

The type of work available in the Israeli security apparatus allows them to integrate into these institutions without having to face potential conflicts surrounding their religious identity.

The decision of security organizations to increase their candidate pool by opening their doors to haredi recruits will allow them to reach a significant segment of the market.

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