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(photo credit: IDF [file])
Reports of an increase in the number of youth seeking to avoid military service has aroused the ire of bereaved families of fallen soldiers, many of whom gathered at the Kirya army base on Friday to protest.
"Everyone has to do his part, however he can - national service, volunteering for Magen David Adom, combat, non-combat - whatever they can, they should do," Army Radio quoted one of the demonstrators saying.
"They don't fulfill their obligation to serve in the IDF? They don't get any rights in this country. As far as I'm concerned, they can leave."
Security and Defense: A kitbag question
Ahead of the August draft, the IDF presented last week statistics that indicated a sharp rise in the number of potential inductees who don't join the army - 25 percent of those born in 1989 and scheduled to enlist this summer.
Eleven percent received exemptions on grounds of being ultra-Orthodox, up one percentge point compared to last year; 7% did not enlist due to medical reasons, including physical and mental conditions; 4% did not enlist due to criminal records; and 3% live abroad.
"This is a problem that if not stopped will only continue to grow," an IDF Human Resources officer said. "If drastic steps are not taken, then in a few years we might reach the point that 50 percent of potential draftees are not enlisting."