Ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers participate in development of new & advanced electronic warfare system.
A., 29, thankful for the opportunity to ‘give not only to the army, to the people of Israel, but also to the place from which I come as someone setting a precedent’.
By Yoav Zitun
far from the limelight, haredi soldiers serving in the army are racking up impressive accomplishments. Ultra-Orthodox soldiers serving in the army’s Computer Services Directorate have recently completed development of an advanced electronic warfare system, which significantly improves the operational abilities of forces along the nothern and Gaza borders.
The secret system provides an operational solution to a gap which existed within the army in terms of daily security.
Among others who received compliments on the system’s success from senior army officials were the soldiers are behind its development –haredi software developers from a special program for the integration of haredim into the army, who after many months of work, succeeded in implementing the innovative system and proving its effectiveness.
“We could have taken this to a civilian company which is an expert in the field, but we preferred to leave it in the army and allow the team with the haredi soldiers to develop the system,” said a senior official in the Directorate.”They succeeded and even earned much recognition. Additionally, their success within the IDF saved us millions of shekels.”
Several members of the team which developed ‘Tirat Agam’ – which the high command uses to manage its electronic warfare system and which personally serves the chief of staff and IDF leadership –stood out.
One of them is A., 29, from Petah Tikva, married with one child, who asked to remain anonymous for fear he would be harassed. After a service of four-and-a-half years, he was recently released. As a programmer with military experience, he is currently applying for leading hi-tech companies, and reviewing job offers.
Graduates of the elite Directorate unit Lotem are usually snatched by the hi-tech sector upon their release. “The job I get I will combine with Torah study in the evenings,” said A. “In the army, I began on the application development team, and I continued onto a post in programming in the infrastructure team.”
“In a similar system within civilian life, if there a problem, you reject the project. In the military, there is a deadline, and we worked long hours for over six months in order to complete the mission. We won awards for excellence for the system, and we got great satisfaction from the responses we received from the military high command, which just wanted us to add more and more to the system,” A. said.
Routine: Haredi soldiers on the bus
A. confessed, “It’s brings me enormous satisfaction and great pride. In the beginning, when I lived in a haredi area in Jerusalem, it was hard for me to go around in uniform, but today the situation is reversed. For a young haredi who is deliberating and interested, I say that the decision is personal, but to me, the army gave a lot of good things. It put me in the job market, so I believe more haredim can join. I felt that I could give not only to the army and the people of Israel, but also to place from which I come as someone setting a precedent.”
A. describes the haredi campaign against haredi soldiers as “internal haredi politics, absolutely disgusting.”
Cartoon protesting haredi draft law
A friend in his army unit, First Sergeant I., a yeshiva graduate, is involved in the development of a system for Gaza crossings, which enables efficient identification of Palestinians using biometric data. “This way we know quickly from security officials if a Palestinian may enter Israel or not. There are much less delays and it also prevents disturbances that can harm soldiers at the checkpoints,” I. said proudly.
“Most of the Palestinian workers want to come to make a living, and our job is to make sure the system will continue to operate smoothly at dozens of locations.”
Regarding the changes in the haredi sector in terms of haredi soldiers, I. said, “It doesn’t happen anymore that I ride the bus and do not meet a haredi soldier like me. If you live in the haredi tradition, there is no reason they will not treat you accordingly. As a haredi, I believe that whoever learns Torah all day, he will have to stay in yeshiva, and those who do not – they will have the opportunity to serve the country and have a livelihood.”
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4402601,00.html