paratroopers 298 .
(photo credit: IDF file Photo)
The number of new IDF recruits who requested to serve in combat units has not dropped, the IDF revealed on Sunday, despite the failures and mishaps the military encountered during the recent war in Lebanon.
On Sunday, hundreds of youths flocked to the Tel Hashomer Enlistment Center near Tel Aviv and donned uniforms for the first time, in the IDF's largest enlistment since the Lebanon war ended in August.
Brig.-Gen. Nissim Barda, head of Planning at IDF Human Resources, said that while the new recruits filled out their "preference forms" asking for specific units before the war, they were given the opportunity to change their requests after the fighting in Lebanon ended and even so the majority asked to serve in combat units.
"The motivation to serve in combat units is the same as last November," Barda said. "There is no drop and if anything there may even be a slight increase."
The deadly clashes the Golani Infantry Brigade encountered in the southern Lebanon town of Bint Jbail and the casualties the Armored Corps suffered during the war, only enhanced Barda said the youth's desire to serve in those units.
"Many wanted to serve in Golani as a result of Bint Jbail," he said. "The youth wants to serve in the units that suffer casualties."
"This means that today's youth believes in the IDF and that can be seen by the large numbers and the high motivation," he added.
The enlistment was slightly smaller than last November, Barda said, although not due to a lack of motivation but rather to smaller graduating classes. The numbers will continue to decline until 2011, when children born following the first Gulf War baby boom begin to enlist in the IDF.
The November enlistment is also the first time female soldiers are being recruited into combat Military Intelligence positions, until now reserved just to male soldiers.