Security and intelligence groups launch initiative to recruit haredim

Only the ‘best of the best’ to get work in these prestigious organizations

(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel’s security and intelligence organizations are launching a new initiative, reaching out to members of the ultra-Orthodox haredi community who are looking for employment, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The initiative, which will target young men between the ages of 24-34 with unique set skills and abilities, comes on the heels of a great deal of effort on the part of Pardes, an NGO that works to integrate young haredim into Israel’s security organizations and institutions.
The target population of the campaign are the haredi youth who have successfully completed the yeshiva track – not to those who are still in the midst of it – and who are searching for a meaningful place of employment, the founder of Pardes, Rabbi Dr. Moshe Kahan – a graduate of the leading Tifrah and Mir yeshivas and a lecturer in Semitic languages at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – told The Jerusalem Post.
The ultra-Orthodox community, which has historically been exempt from military service, has held regular demonstrations against the draft, but according to Kahan, “this is not national service or joining the IDF, it’s a job.”
“Since we aren’t talking about a draft into the army, but a job which won’t have any impact on their religion, I think a large part of the community will take this in a good way,” he continued, adding that this initiative will give the recruits a respectable job.
The type of work available in the Israeli security apparatus allows young haredim to integrate into these institutions without having to face potential conflicts surrounding their religious identity and 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 in the market.
Pardes enables haredi youth to train in a track that is managed and run within a haredi framework, and the candidates will be able to continue studying Torah alongside their coursework in an ultra-Orthodox environment.
The candidates, who must demonstrate outgoing skills and personal qualities, will undergo a rigorous screening process that will include a number of tests. Those who qualify for the next stages in the screening process will have to go through pre-academic preparatory courses in the fields of computer science, geopolitics and international relations.
Alongside the initiative, a recruitment riddle taken from the world of intelligence organizations in recent years will also be published for haredi youth to complete.
They will be asked to solve a security problem that will be given to them in the form of a puzzle, whose solution will not be found in the worlds of intelligence or cyberspace but rather through the world of concepts which requires sharp thinking that haredi students typically use while learning in yeshivas.
Once they complete the program, suitable candidates will find work in various positions at Israeli security institutions dealing with defense, cyber, computer science, research and information analysis.
“This is no longer just an opportunity, but an extraordinary opportunity. Ultimately, we will select the best of the best, and only they will be able to integrate into the work of the ministry and other security systems,” Kahan said.
“The senior personnel in the places that we are dealing with are people who make good use of long-term strategic thinking in their line of work and understand the importance [of this type of program] for the community, the country and their organizations... They recognize the exceptional ways in which haredim can significantly contribute to handling the various challenges facing Israel’s security apparatus.”