Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Haredi women work at the Malam Group IT company in Beitar Illit (Archive).

A new program of the IDF HR intends to make military service more appealing to potential Haredi recruits, as a way of helping the army meet recruitment goals in the Haredi sector. According to Makor Rishon (מאמצי צה”ל לגיוס החרדים: מסלולי מהנדסים ופרמדיקים שיתחילו במקביל ללימודים בישיבה), the plan is to offer Haredi recruits a variety of service tracks that would train them for a professional career after their service.

The program is designed to provide the military with manpower in needed professions that are also in demand in civilian life: engineering, technology, driving, and medical care. Some of the courses will be offered before the enlistment, while the future recruits still study in yeshivas.

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According to the new program, in the technological track, the Haredi youths will complete their core studies (Math, English) before starting their service, and after being trained for the military profession under conditions that suit their needs, they will be integrated into civilian software companies that serve the military. The IDF HR believes that this track would appeal to Haredi recruits who would be grabbed by Israeli hi-tech outfits after their discharge. About 200 Haredim are expected to participate in this track each year initially, with the anticipation that this figure would increase gradually.

The IDF HR also plans to offer a driving track to the Haredi recruits. “We have established a regular military service track where Haredim who live in a given area are enlisted and given convenient training conditions that include going home every day, maybe even without a uniform,” an IDF HR officer told Makor Rishon. “They will carry out assignments in their home areas on a truck or a bus until the evening, ahead of their enlistment.
This will allow us to offer them a relatively short service, and then we will release them to the reserves and possibly even to a career in the military.”

The army is also preparing a training track for Haredim as engineers, technicians, and electricians, and in electronics. “The idea is to train them in a Haredi college, and then they will continue their studies in regular course during their service to receive a certificate,” the officer explained.

Another track is training to become paramedics and serve in the Medical Corps and later in MDA. Providing first aid is a highly sought-after profession in the military, especially in times of emergency. The training to become a paramedic is lengthy and complicated, so the Haredi recruits will be required to study while they are still in yeshiva. The training will last two years, followed by a year’s internship.

“All of these tracks are expected to increase the number of Haredi recruits, under the Enlistment Law,” the HR officer said.

Last week, in the latest round of attempts to satisfy everyone regarding Haredi enlistment in the IDF (which, to remind you, was the reason behind then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to disperse the Knesset and go to new elections back in 2019, ushering in his political defeat), the cabinet approved the proposal of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman to examine lowering the age for exemption from IDF service for young men from the Haredi sector to 21, thus helping them to enter the job market.

The IDF HR is hoping that taking any of their proposed tracks would appeal to the recruits who wish to attain good jobs after the army.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.