idf training 88.
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A forum of reservists and parents with children serving in the IDF released alarming statistics on Monday claiming that by 2015 a mere 53 percent of Israeli youth will enlist in the IDF.
According to the report, which is based on demographic data provided by the Central Bureau of Statistics, by 2025 more than half of Israeli youth will not serve in the IDF. The report was based on the continued growth in the ultra-Orthodox sector of society that does not serve in the military, and was composed under the assumption that the percentage of non-haredi draft-dodgers remains the same as this past year.
The IDF rejected the report, and in a statement released by the Spokesperson's Office said it predicted that in 2025, 29% of male youth will not enlist in the military, only a 4% increase from 2007. The statement said that it was impossible to predict how many draft-dodgers there would be in 2025.
The forum said that the statistics were compiled after, in August, the IDF reported an increase in the number of teenagers dodging military service, with the total reaching 25 percent of youth born in 1989 and scheduled to enlist in the IDF this past summer.
Of the 25%, some 11% received exemptions this year on grounds of being ultra-Orthodox, an increase of 1% over last year. Seven percent did not enlist for medical reasons, including physical and mental conditions.
Itay Ben-Horin, a member of the forum who serves in the IDF reserves, said that the government needed to wake up before it was too late. He called on the government to pass legislation and provide benefits for Israelis who serve in the IDF and in addition enforce the draft laws and punish those who do not serve.
"There is a trend that we see expanding every year due to the growth in the haredi sector and the increase in the number of secular draft-dodgers," Ben-Horin said.
In an effort to curb the growing number of youth who evade military service, the IDF Human Resources Department is working to pass legislation that would deny draft dodgers state-provided benefits.
According to the plan being drafted by OC Human Resources Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern and Col. Ziki Sela, head of the department's Planning Division, the military will begin to offer a number of financial incentives for soldiers who serve a full military term.
One such benefit under consideration is granting soldiers who serve three years in combat units free university tuition for their entire degree, as opposed to the current payment of only one year of free tuition. Other incentives include free public transportation for a specific period even after the soldiers are released from the army.