Sunday, November 4, 2012

50 ultra-Orthodox Jews enlist in Israel's Air Force unit

A significant number of ultra-Orthodox Jews enlisted recently in Israel’s Air Force unit, according to the IDF.

In two weeks, about 50 ultra-Orthodox Jews will begin to serve in the IDF Technological and Logistics Directorate through the Shahar project, a program designed to balance the religious obligations of the ultra-Orthodox Jews and the desire to serve the country, which has already enrolled about 300 young ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The program was launched in 2007 by the then commander of the Israeli Air Force Elazar Shkedy, who looked to the ultra-Orthodox Jews to fill the shortage in the technical services field of the Air Force. Soldiers in this program will serve as mechanics, programmers and electricians.

What makes this unit different from your average IDF unit is that this unit will never mix genders and no female bosses or teachers are allowed in the unit. Also, soldiers are given time during the day to pray and study Torah and all food served is kosher according to an extreme standard.
"This is a significant increase from the previous recruitments, which ended two months ago, during which 29 ultra-Orthodox Jewish soldiers enlisted," Yossi Cohen, the Shahar project manager said.

"Those soldiers, some of whom took an English course over two months have been integrated
into military bases, where they are taking the right courses to fill their role during their military service."
Cohen said that every day in the afternoon, soldiers study the Daf Yomi, a page of Talmud every day and the laws of Chanukah.

Most soldiers are between the ages of 22-27, and after completing two years of service, will receive a certificate highlighting their technical trade.

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