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.”

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Haredim, IDF, Mossad

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy