Meet the Israeli Intelligence Services’ New Ultra-Orthodox Agents

April 20 2021

In 1999, the IDF established an all-ḥaredi battalion, and since then—despite the repeated failures of legislation to start drafting Ḥaredim en masse—the number of Ḥaredim in this and other units has steadily increased. More recently, a rabbi, in cooperation with the Mossad, founded an institution called Pardes to train young ḥaredi men to serve in Israel’s intelligence agencies. Yonah Jeremy Bob, drawing on interviews with some of its graduates, writes:

Pardes enables ḥaredi youth . . . to continue studying Torah alongside their coursework in an ultra-Orthodox environment. After passing the obscenely competitive screening process, each [student goes] through pre-academic preparatory courses in the fields of computer science, geopolitics, and international relations before applying for jobs in the security establishment.

One thing that was striking was that though [one Pardes graduate interviewed, who currently works for the Mossad], was thoroughly ḥaredi, dressed in black and white, he spoke like a seasoned Mossad veteran about achieving national-security results. He was very polished; . . . if my eyes had been closed, I would have had no idea he was ultra-Orthodox. [He] related how in recent weeks his critical talmudic training to examine presumptions constantly tipped him off that something was missing from a specific intelligence picture.

The Mossad’s director, Yossi Cohen, said, “When Pardes came to me with the initiative, I knew this was an opportunity both to enhance Israel’s security with a new untapped pool of talent and to increase diversity and understanding among the country’s different sectors.”

Rabbi Daniel Rabin, [the director of Pardes], remembered that a top Shin Bet official told him, “The world of computers changes every two years. We’ve seen your guys’ capability for learning new things. . . . That is a gold mine.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Haredim, IDF, Mossad

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy