The Shmooze

IDF Catches Army Dodgers on Facebook

By Michael Kaminer

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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 TheJC.com 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?”


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