Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

IDF Catches Army Dodgers on Facebook

Playing “Farmville” on Shabbat isn’t a great idea if you’ve told the Israeli army you’re too frum to serve.

That’s one of the lessons about a thousand Israeli women have learned after the Israel Defense Forces used Facebook to check out claims of religious observance. By using the hugely popular social-networking site, the military managed to track down hundreds of women who lied about their spiritual proclivities, an army spokesperson told AFP.

Military service is compulsory for Israelis over the age of 18, with men serving three years and women two years. Women who sign a declaration saying they eat only kosher food and do not work on the Sabbath, are exempt, however. When a woman submits a statement declaring herself to be religious, the army has 60 days to challenge it.

One woman was caught out after she posted a photograph in which she is seen eating in a non-kosher restaurant, while others were caught wearing revealing clothing, the spokesman said. Still others were caught when they accepetd online invitations to Friday night parties – “which were sent out as bait by firms of private investigators paid to sniff out the fakers,” the article reported. “If you see someone updating their account on Shabbat, it tells you she is using a computer, and probably talking on the phone and watching TV, which is forbidden,” the spokesman, Captain Arye Shalicar, said.

At the same time, UK Jewish news site reported that the IDF is running a campaign against indiscreet Facebook posts. “Top brass have written to all commanders asking them to urge subordinates to be careful what they post on Facebook and other social networking sites,” the site says. “It urges against posting photos taken on bases or pictures of soldiers which give away information about their role in the army, such as by revealing unit insignia, or where they live.”

On military bases, the article explains, there are posters with a mock Facebook page and images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah with Facebook “friend requests” and a catch line: “You think that everyone is your friend?”

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.