IDF Troops walking 298.
(photo credit: AP)
The IDF Human Resources Directorate is in the midst of drawing up plans to increase salaries and improve work conditions for the young officer corps, which experts fear plans to bolt the IDF as a result of the growing infighting inside the military in wake of the poor performance during the war in Lebanon.
OC Human Resources Directorate Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern recently presented data to Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz regarding the drastic drop in motivation among the young military brass and non-commissioned officers.
The cuts to salaries and benefits before the war and the public criticism that followed, a high-ranking officer told The Jerusalem Post, have stirred the younger officers to begin looking for other jobs in the private sector.
"The numbers are far worse than we would have imagined," the officer said, while refusing to divulge the exact figures. "We are speaking mostly about first-time career officers, mid-career non-commissioned officers and technological workers who are all beginning to consider other alternatives outside the military."
The cuts in their salaries as well as the public's losing respect for their uniforms and the military could lead an entire generation of officers to leave the IDF, the officer warned.
Referring to stories of battalion commanders embarrassed to arrive at their children's parent-teacher conference in uniform, the officer said the IDF was preparing to begin implementing a new round of benefits for career officers who have begun eyeing alternative careers in the private sector. Low-interest loans, private military-issued cars and financial bonuses are some of the benefits.
Comparing today's challenges to the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Six Day War in 1967 when Israelis flocked to the IDF to enlist or offered their services as a volunteer, the officer said that Israeli society had changed.
"Today people think more about what they can get than what they can give," he said.
"We are criticized much more today than we were in the past," the officer said. "The officers under attack risk their lives on a daily basis and the level of criticism has already turned insulting."