Jerusalem - New IDF Initiative Allows Haredis To Enlist, Serve, And Learn Trade While Maintaining Ultra-Orthodox Lifestyle

Published on: December 28th, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Jerusalem - A fledgling IDF initiative called "Olive Saplings" now allows Haredi soldiers in the northern part of Israel to enlist, serve, and learn a trade adaptable to the secular world while still maintaining their ultra-Orthodox lifestyle.

In a press release issued by the IDF ( they report that the "Olive Saplings" program is now offering northern Israeli Haredis positions in Home Front Command at a base located just outside of Safed after the initiative's pilot program---which included a few dozen Haerdis---was deemed highly successful.

Major David Feig, Chief Rabbi of the IDF in the Galilee, praised the program and said it essentially offers Haredis "a twofer" in that it allows them to serve their country while maintaining their lifestyle and acquiring a skill set that will increase their employment opportunities upon completion of services.

β€œThe soldiers will receive a Haredi support system, together with a job, and an opportunity to build experience that will help them in their future as civilians,” Feig said. "This project will give an answer to the prevalent need that occurs in every Haredi neighborhood in the north, and will allow for a large influx of much needed manpower into the military.”

According to a rep from the IDF's Spokesperson Unit, the program---which is expected to include 5-times as many recruits this time---is seeking to attach Haredis to IDF's Mechanics, Logistics, and Technological Corps.

According to Captain David Page of Multi Galilee Division, recruits will go through basic training and then attend qualifying training courses at Training Base 20, after which they will be placed in roles that will ultimately qualify them in professions like electricians, mechanics, NCO inventory management, drivers, non-commissioned logistics and administrative fields.

"We took steps during the pilot program to address any anxiousness and concerns and these roles will be a good springboard to the civilian labor market," Page said. "This is a significant step towards integrating the Haredis into Israeli society.

Corporal "M," a 27 year-old father of two who completed the pilot program, said, "I recently completed my program in an exceptional manner and from my personal experience the IDF is prepared to absorb the ultra-Orthodox."

Lieutenant Colonel Tzachi Revivo, an Adjutant officer also affiliated with the program, said, "Our doubts evaporated and what was left was pride and hope. As long as the Haredi are motivated to join us, we will not give up on anyone.”

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