IDF says 75% of recruits requesting to serve in combat units

The month of March typically sees large drafts to combat units; data shows increase in females volunteering for combat units.

March 8, 2015 09:49
2 minute read.
IDF SOLDIERS OF THE Desert Blaze Batallion

IDF SOLDIERS OF THE Desert Blaze Batallion. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)


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Around seventy-five percent of IDF conscripts in this spring’s draft have asked to join a combat unit.

The figure, released by the IDF on Sunday, represents a “slight increase” and is consistent with previous years over the past decade.

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It is nearly identical to last March’s percentage of 74.7%.

Though a modest increase over March 2014, it does represent a substantial increase over 2013, when 70% requested combat service, but also a dip from 2010, when 79% asked to be in combat units.

The statistics from March’s draft class appear to indicate that Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, in which 66 IDF soldiers were killed, caused no substantial increase or decrease in the percentage of conscripts requesting to serve in combat units.

The IDF press release on Sunday also said that this March’s class shows a 30% increase in female motivation to serve in combat units over 2014, but no indication was given of what the figures were last year. It also said that 90% of conscripts were placed in one of the three units that they requested to serve in during their initial draft meetings.

In 2010, the IDF credited the spike to Israel’s Cast Lead operation against Hamas in Gaza, which finished shortly before the statistics were gathered. The 79% figure was a sharp increase over the November 2008 class which was drafted just before the war, a class of which 67.2% requested combat service.

In the IDF press release, the chief of the IDF Manpower Directorate, Brig.-Gen. Hagai Topolansky, says that being a “peoples’ army” will continue to be part of the foundation of the IDF, and that it will work to expand conscription among all sectors of society.

He said the IDF is also working to increase the roles women perform in the army and the number of combat deployments for them, and that it is the human factor that will determine the continued success of the army.

“The IDF has for years been constructed as a strong and quality army, an army that has the ability to deter and to defeat and which depends on the capabilities of some of the most advanced weaponry on Earth. The secret of its strength and the source of its power, though, has always been and will continue to be the personnel and their fighting spirit,” Topolansky said.

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