Drunken Facebook photos have spoiled the chances of job candidates all over the world. In Israel, though, much-too-revealing profile updates are spelling even more serious trouble. The Israel Defense Forces announced last week they used the social networking site to spot around 1,000 female draft dodgers who appear to have falsely declared themselves to be religious in order to avoid the country’s mandatory military service. Tip-offs, an IDF officer said, included pictures of the women in skimpy clothing, eating at non-kosher restaurants, and posting updates on the Sabbath, when Orthodox Jews aren’t allowed to use equipment such as cameras and computers.
Military service, which lasts two years for women, is compulsory for Israelis from the age of 18, but observant Jews can opt out of it by signing a declaration stating that they follow a strictly religious lifestyle. Many Israelis suspected this rule created an easy loophole for secular women to avoid joining the army. According to IDF figures, 42 per cent of women avoid the draft, and 35 per cent do so on religious grounds. Facebook is the latest tool the IDF has resorted to in order to unmask false claims of piety. Those who’ve been caught will now have to “rephrase their religious declarations,” and may be charged with committing a criminal offence, though it’s unlikely that they will be convicted, sources said.