Wanted: Arabic, Russian, German speakers for cadet course

Foreign Ministry seeks foreign language speakers for cadet course - an "interesting and varied work."

Livni china 224 88 (photo credit: AP)
Livni china 224 88
(photo credit: AP)
By the time registration for the Foreign Ministry's first cadet course in two years closes on Sunday, an estimated 2,000 applicants will by vying for one of 20 new slots in the foreign service at a salary of NIS 5,000 a month for the first two years. Despite the relatively low pay, the Foreign Ministry continues to appeal to hundreds of candidates attracted by the "interesting and varied work" the ministry has to offer. "This isn't a job you get and just stay in one place in," he said. "You work here, work abroad and are constantly changing positions - it has a lot of appeal," said Yaakov Avrahmy, director of the ministry's training division. This year, he said, the ministry is looking to recruit candidates who, in addition to English and Hebrew, also speak Russian, Arabic or German. He said that in addition to announcing the opening of the course in the Hebrew and English press, the ministry also took out ads in the Russian and Arabic press. Russian-speaking diplomats are in particular demand, Avrahmy said, because the number of diplomatic missions Israel has in the former Soviet Union. In addition to the embassy in Russia, Israel has delegations in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and the Baltic states. Although the ministry has a need for candidates fluent in specific languages, Avrahamy said there are no quotas - it wouldn't do any good to have a fluent Russian speaker, he said by way of an example, if that person wasn't suited for diplomacy. The course comes at a time when the ministry is having difficulty staffing offices in countries in the developing world where the conditions are considered difficult - places where new cadets are traditionally sent. Until 2000 there was a new cadet's course about every year, but it was scaled down to once every two years due to budgetary problems. This is also the first time, Avrahamy said, the ministry will divide the course into two tracks, a diplomatic track and an administrative track for those who will work in administrative, logistic, computer and financial positions both here and in the missions abroad. The course consists of six months of course work in the ministry - three months common to both the administrative and diplomatic track and then three months when each track concentrates on their own specialty. The cadets then spend another 18 months in various positions inside the ministry getting "on the job training." Israel has 98 missions abroad, with 70 percent of them small delegations of only two Foreign Ministry officials. In 2006, the cadet course was large, with 30 people. Fourteen of those cadets were women, the average age was 30, there was one Druze, one Israeli- Arab woman, and five native Russian speakers. The application procedure consists of three stages: the first includes various tests, a psychometric exam and the need to write an essay in English. The second stage involves a battery of interviews, and the third involves a psychological profile and gaining a security clearance. Following the application procedure the course itself is scheduled to start in October 2008.