Eighty hareidi-religious men joined the ranks of IDF intelligence this week, becoming the largest group to do so in the history of the “Bina B’Yarok” (Intelligence in Green) program to bring hareidim into the corps.
The new inductees represent a 25% increase in hareidi-religious presence in the Intelligence Corp.
They will begin work in a variety of positions, working with communications, computers, GIS systems, and in research. Most will work with computers or in communications.
Young men from a variety of streams within the hareidi-religious community enlisted with Bina B’Yarok. Some are from the chassidic Gur and Sanz groups, others are Sephardi, and still others are “Litvaks,” members of communities based in European Jewish traditions.
The recruits came from cities across the country, including hareidi-religious strongholds like Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit (Kiryat Sefer) where IDF enlistment is often discouraged.
Commanding officer Major Yoram Dan explained that the Bina B’Yarok program is designed with the haredi soldiers’ unique needs in mind. The soldiers serve exclusively with men, are provided with food that meets demanding kosher specifications, and are given time to pray each afternoon, he said.
“Our goal is to make more options available for hareidi recruits,” he added.
Hareidi soldiers still face challenges, Dan admitted. The main challenge is simply joining the program, a “socio-psychological” challenge for many, he said. Some of the soldiers are from communities where full-time Torah learning is strongly preferred over IDF service, he said, adding, “We have soldiers who need to change out of uniform on the train [home].”