Meet the Israeli Intelligence Services’ New Ultra-Orthodox Agents

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

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy