The ODM program… This is what the Mossad and the Israeli army are doing to recruit students in the field of technology

Official statistics indicate that 8% of male conscripts drop out of the Israeli army annually, while the percentage among girls rises to approximately 12% annually.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, and with the participation of the Mossad and the Shin Bet security service, has prepared a program for outstanding and talented students at the secondary level in order to develop their abilities and benefit from their brains to manufacture and develop weapons, technology and cyber equipment.

The Israeli Ministry of Security launched the program to rehabilitate talented and talented students “ODEM”, and it aims to recruit 14 to 15-year-olds, in a special educational course that combines secondary and university levels in order to develop and discover new weapons and modernize conventional weapons in line with technological and electronic development.

The program came amid a decline in the “enthusiastic” Israelis to serve in combat units, as the results of the general registration to join the army for the third year in a row showed a weakness in the turnout of Jewish youths to serve and engage in combat units.

In the face of this decline in recruitment for combat units, it was noticed in the army that high school students registered and prepared to join units dealing with the “cyber” field, and serve in various technology units, most notably Unit 8200 of the Israeli Military Intelligence Service “Aman” and the “cyber” system. And the Electronic Army Unit, and on this basis came the program, which we review the most prominent axes and objectives.

What are the bodies that supervise the “ODM” program?

According to the program director Ronen Kedar, the Israeli army, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, leading security industries, funds and non-governmental organizations have joined the ODM program, which is included in the “Golan Development Plan”, which was approved by the Israeli government at the end of last December.

This program is supervised by the Directorate of Research and Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure in the Israeli Ministry of Security, in cooperation with the Outstanding and Talented Students Department in the Israeli Ministry of Education, in order to prevent the leakage of “high-tech brains” from the Israeli army.

Summer camps at the Technion in Haifa to discover outstanding students (Al-Jazeera)

Why is there a need for a special program to qualify high school students in the field of weapons development?

The Israeli ministries of security and education launched a new, distinguished program for the talented and talented in secondary education, and a marketing evening was held for the program, with the participation of a person nicknamed “Erez,” the head of the Mossad’s technology department, who said through a black screen, “The State of Israel needs good fighters and needs to excel. Technological. We don’t have a choice: we have to be in first place; second and third places are not enough for us,” she said newspaper Haaretz

What is the purpose of the ODM program for gifted and talented students?

The “Odem” program seeks to recruit young men and women who have superior capabilities and abilities, in order to develop weapons. The duration of the program is 12 years, and includes studying at a boarding secondary school in the settlement of “Kitzrin” in the occupied Golan Heights, then studying electrical engineering at the Institute of Applications (the Technion). In Haifa, and then a military service in the technological units of the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli army for 6 years, knowing that those who join these units will have a “huge impact,” according to the program’s supervisors.

Was the first batch of the program launched? How will the study be?

The stage of classifying male and female students from the ninth grades has begun, to select 40 students who will be in the first cohort of the “ODM” program, and they will start studying within the framework of this program at the beginning of the next academic year, and education at all stages will be free, and the program will focus, in cooperation with the Arms Development Company. Raphael”, to develop “independent systems”.

These programs come to counter the reluctance to engage in ground combat units, and for the purpose of providing appropriate frameworks for young people to enlist in the army, as the Army’s Personnel and Forces Division recently faced an erosion in the military standing of the individual, and a decline in the motivation for combat service, which forces the army to prepare for change and start Thinking outside the box, according to Amir Bouhbut, a political analyst at the Walla website.

Research presentations by students during the Exact Science competitions at the Technion.Research presentations by students during the exact sciences competitions at the Technion (Al-Jazeera)

Why is the program being criticized?

The program drew a lot of criticism, which was rejected by the Ministry of Education, and a researcher in the relationship between the military, politics and society at the Open University, Professor Yigal Levy, said that “fighting robots can be brutal creatures, and a high level of moral analysis should be provided for their development. In a remote boarding school, he would create the right atmosphere, to prevent questions from being asked or reliance on civilian regulations.”

The same position was expressed by the lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Natalie Davidzon, who considered that the “ODM” program is “a more sophisticated and softer version of military use for boys and girls.”

Davidson said that due to the reduced need for ground forces and the impression that the use of autonomous weapons as “surgery” creates the illusion of a “clean” war, these systems “contribute to justifying the use of force and the emergence of confrontations.”

What is the relationship between excellence in mental abilities and military service in the Israeli army?

Psychologist Dr. Hanna David believes that there is a disappointment felt by many young men and women who are classified as gifted in high school, but their abilities and their brains have been marginalized by the military roles assigned to them when they join the Israeli army.

Official statistics indicate that 8% of male conscripts drop out of the army annually, while the percentage among girls rises to approximately 12%.

She explained that due to the incompatibility between job titles and the daily work required of them (the talented), they perform their military service against their will. Service in the Israeli army is mandatory, and it is not a list from which you can choose “what you want.”

and accordingly; The programs came in order to provide the appropriate framework for the capabilities and brains of the gifted and talented, and then the Israeli army knows how to invest in brains and supernatural abilities and use the brilliant minds that reach it in the best way for all parties, and recruit them into the cyber units, the electronic army, and the 8200 intelligence unit.

Why these programs and tracks for outstanding students?

There is an impression among the Jewish youth that, based on the history of high technology in Israel, military service within the cyber units is a guarantee of economic success in the future. Therefore, such programs aim to combat the phenomenon of dropouts from the army and provide an appropriate framework for each male and female conscript.

Dr. Hanna David says that this is a correct assumption, “but it has nothing to do with the belief that the Israeli army will recognize the capabilities of my son, who obtained 100 in the high school certificate in 5 units in computer science and mathematics, and accordingly these paths came to select talented students from the secondary stage, In order for the male or female student to be truly satisfied with the military service, and to feel that his abilities are exhausted, or that Israeli society will appreciate him.”

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