IDF: By 2020, 40% of high school graduates won’t enlist

Study shows only 1/3 of those drafted complete service.

November 9, 2010 13:13
1 minute read.
A group of newly-drafted IDF soldiers

311_IDF draftees. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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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.

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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 inter-society tensions.

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.

The figures 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 service.

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.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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