Israeli Military Withholds Security Clearance from D&D Gamers

Could your role-playing habit keep you from getting a government job with a security clearance?

If you live in Israel, it just might.

YNet reports that 18-year-old Israeli Defense Force (IDF) recruits who mention playing Dungeons & Dragons are automatically assigned a low security clearance. The reason? According to the Israeli army:

We have discovered that some of them are simply detached from reality… They’re detached from reality and susceptible to influence.

D&D is apparently quite popular in Israel. Fans of the game are said to be aware of the negative stereotype and often attempt to keep their hobby secret.

Gamer shame, anyone?

With military service mandatory in Israel, most teens are recruited when they graduate high school. Matan, a young Israeli soldier, is a fan of “live action role-playing” (LARP) in which fans dress in costume and act out their adventures. He told YNet:

It’s not a game of winners and losers, but rather entry into another world with stories and plot changes.

However an IDF official explained the official position:

One of the tests we do, either by asking soldiers directly or through information provided us, is to ask whether they take part in the game. If a soldier answers in the affirmative, he is sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist.

These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment. They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality – elements which lower a person’s security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions.

Another gamer, David, objected to the negative stereotyping:

Many people who play served in the most classified units. They are intelligent and any attempt to label them as ‘weird’ is incorrect and unfair.

It’s unclear whether the IDF policy translates to PC or console RPGs such as World of Warcraft or Everquest II.

GP: This is not a new story. The YNet article cited originally appeared in early 2005. We just came upon it, however, and found it worthy of our readers’ consideration.

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