IDF Uses Facebook to Catch Women Lying Their Way Out of the Army

Military official says investigators used the popular social networking site to uncover 1,000 women who told IDF enlisters they were religious to avoid mandatory service.

The Israel Defense Force says its monitoring of Facebook has helped catch 1,000 women lying about their religious background to avoid serving.

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Israeli military service is largely compulsory, but religiously observant Jewish women can be exempted from service.

The army hired investigators two years ago to help stem the increase of draft dodgers and have used Facebook to find evidence of those women lying to avoid conscription.

A military official said Monday that one woman who said she was a religious Jew posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a menu from a non-kosher restaurant. Another updated her profile on the Sabbath.

All were brought back to duty.

The IDF has already made use of the popular social networking site to monitor potential security leaks with the founding of a special Intelligence Corps unit earlier this year.

The crackdown was a product of the Second Lebanon War and the conclusions of the Winograd Committee, among other things.

The official IDF weekly Bamahane announced that the investigative division had been established within Military Intelligence's Department of Information Security.

Members of the unit scan Web sites including Facebook and MySpace, and the Twitter short-messaging service.

In addition, the unit reviews transcripts of hundreds of senior officers' conversations, to ensure they are not speaking to journalists without authorization.

The new unit will be allowed to give polygraph tests to soldiers and officers suspected of leaking information.