Haredi national servicemen join Israel Prison Service in unprecedented move

For the first time in its history, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has recruited a group of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) national servicemen, who will serve as prison wardens in various facilities across the country. The 12 recruits, who completed their training last week, are part of a broader effort by the IPS to increase diversity and inclusion among its staff.

The recruits, who are aged between 18 and 21, come from different Haredi communities and backgrounds. Some of them are married and have children, while others are single and live with their parents. They all chose to do national service instead of military service, which is mandatory for most Israeli citizens, but exempted for full-time Torah students.

National service is a voluntary alternative to military service, which allows participants to serve in various civilian sectors, such as education, health, welfare, and public safety. National service is usually done by religious women, who are also exempted from military service for religious reasons, but in recent years, more Haredi men have also opted for this option, as a way to contribute to society and gain work experience.

The recruits face challenges and opportunities in their new roles

The Haredi recruits faced several challenges and adjustments during their training and integration into the IPS. They had to adapt to a different and unfamiliar environment, where they interacted with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. They also had to balance their religious obligations, such as prayer, study, and observance of Shabbat and holidays, with their professional duties and responsibilities.

However, the recruits also received support and guidance from the IPS, which made efforts to accommodate their needs and preferences. The IPS provided them with kosher food, separate living quarters, and flexible schedules that allowed them to attend synagogue and yeshiva. The IPS also assigned them mentors and supervisors, who helped them learn the ropes and cope with the challenges.

The recruits expressed satisfaction and enthusiasm about their new roles, and said that they felt welcomed and respected by their colleagues and commanders. They said that they were proud to serve their country and their community, and that they hoped to make a positive difference in the lives of the prisoners and the public.

The IPS hopes to recruit more Haredi national servicemen in the future

The IPS hailed the recruitment of the Haredi national servicemen as a success and a milestone, and said that it hoped to recruit more Haredi men in the future. The IPS said that it was committed to promoting diversity and inclusion among its staff, and that it recognized the value and potential of the Haredi sector.

Lieutenant-Warden Shai Vaknin, head of IPS recruitment, said that the Haredi recruits brought a unique perspective and skill set to the IPS, and that they enriched and enhanced the organization. He said that the IPS was looking for more Haredi candidates who were interested in joining the IPS, and that it would provide them with training, support, and opportunities for personal and professional development.

Vaknin also said that the IPS was in contact with various Haredi organizations and leaders, who supported and encouraged the recruitment of Haredi national servicemen. He said that the IPS was working to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions about the IPS among the Haredi public, and that it hoped to create a positive and lasting partnership with the Haredi community.

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