Israeli military scans Facebook for draft dodgers

The Israeli military said it has been trawling the pages of Facebook searching for women who pretend to be religious in order to escape military service.

So far it has nabbed 1,000 women who had been lying about their religious background a senior solider told a parliamentary committee meeting yesterday.

Brigadier General Amir Rogovsky told a meeting discussing women's exemption from military service that the Israeli Defence Forces have six officers trawling social media sites looking for women dodging the draft.

The religious are allowed to skip military service in Israel, which is compulsory for everyone else. But it seems plenty of women claim to be strictly observant just to skip two years of army life. Men have to serve three years but Rogovsky didn't reveal how many male draft dodgers had been caught on Facebook.

One such woman was spotted on the social networking site eating in a non-Kosher restaurant. She was apparently hauled back in, given a gun and sent out on the parade ground. Other women who have posted photos of themselves on Facebook in 'immodest' clothing have also soon heard a knock at the door.

Rogovsky said 35 per cent of Israeli women sign a declaration to say they are religiously observant. But many of them aren't, he said. So the military hired the investigators two years ago to ferret them out.

Women updating their profiles on a Friday night, when the strictures of their religion demand they refrain from turning on a computer - or light switch for that matter - are likely to get rumbled by the investigators, who have been known to send out invitations to parties taking place on Friday nights - another no-no for the religious.

The investigators also monitor the likes of Twitter and other sites to ensure serving personnel don't talk to pesky journalists.