The expanded presence of Orthodox Jews, said to comprise about 20
percent of the Jewish population, has included the Defense Ministry and
defense contractors. At aerospace and defense conferences, groups of
Orthodox Jews can be seen taking breaks for afternoon prayer.
Geshide recalled a 38-year-old hasidic father of five from the southern
city of Ashdod. Nearly a decade earlier, the student, Akiva Moshe Lieberman,
graduated a basic computer course at an Orthodox training center and was
hired by Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.
Lieberman was said to have received a "cool reception" by Elta
supervisors and was told "We don't have a lot for you to do." He was
eventually placed in a military-directed team assigned to trouble-shoot a
new British computer program unable to operate with an unidentified military
"All of the experts who attempted to synchronize the system wrung their
hands in frustration," Geshide recalled in a column for Israel's Yediot
Aharonot on Aug. 30. "My acquaintance dove into the depths of the problem,
and after a few months succeeded where all of the experts failed."
Since then, Lieberman has won eight awards from Elta. Geshide cited
another rabbinical graduate who soon became a millionaire through his
acquired technical skills.
"Studying constitutes a means for sharpening one's mind and the ability
to integrate into the workforce — regardless of whether these are Torah
studies or studies in any other field — with the addition of complementary
studies required for the job," Geshide said.
Over the last five years, the military has been training hundreds of
Jewish seminary graduates for technology jobs, Middle East Newsline reported. Most of the Orthodox
employees were working in all-male offices to conform with their religious
Geshide said "many thousands" of Jewish seminary graduates were working
in the defense industry and other hi-tech areas. He said the contribution of
Orthodox Jews has been ignored by the secular elite, including the
government and academia.
"Sometimes it seems to me that those concerned about a change are a
small groups of politicians and academic whose concern is for afterwards,
when they will have no one to kick around," Gehside said.