(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Half of Jewish Israelis between the ages of 18 and 40 do not serve in the IDF,
in an alternative form of national service, or in the reserves, a senior IDF
officer said on Tuesday.
Brig.-Gen. Amir Rogovsky, head of the IDF
Manpower Division’s Planning Branch, told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee that due to the increase in haredi birthrates – 7 percent in
comparison to 2.7% among secular Israelis – by 2020, close to 40% of that year’s
highschool graduates would not enlist into the IDF.
Meanwhile Tuesday, a
report released by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies said that only a
third of those drafted each year into the IDF complete a full term of service,
while the remaining majority of individuals are either granted a full exemption,
or serve for a reduced period.
The report, authored by analyst Boaz Arad,
said that the IDF was no longer a citizens’ army and had not been one for a long
time, but the image it still projected as such was damaging and caused
Therefore, Israel may need a “professional army”
with higher salaries, as opposed to a “citizens’ army” as current practice
dictates, in order to succeed in its missions.
The institute commissioned
a poll to investigate public attitudes toward moving to a professional army in
Israel, and found that only 18% would support such a move.
analyzed in the report also showed that 23% of draft-age individuals receive a
full exemption from service, including 40% of draftage women. Of those who do
not receive exemptions, the report found, 18% only complete part of their
The paper also drew attention to the harrowing statistic that on
average, one soldier commits suicide every two weeks, making it the single
highest cause of death for Israeli soldiers aside from combat.
Post staff contributed to this report.