A record high of 93% of men in religious kibbutzim enlist in combat units, while all their women serve in the IDF or do national service, according to a summary released by Adi Sagi, director of the security department of the religious kibbutz movement, on Wednesday.
According to Sagi, the percentage of men from religious kibbutzim inducted into combat units is higher than recently published figures regarding the rate of high school pupils' joining such units. The few men who do not do combat service do so for medical reasons or because of other problems which prevent them from enlisting. The religious kibbutz movement encourages these individuals to have the best and most effective service possible within the context of their limitations.
Nechemia Rappel, secretary-general of the religious kibbutz movement, said that the recruitment data was a great tribute to the movement, and that the willingness to serve the country was fundamental to it.
It was a combination of education, personal examples within the home, and the quality of education that focused on instilling patriotic values and contribution to the country as well as their religious studies and support from the kibbutzim and the movement that lead to such high numbers, Rappel said.
According to Yair Laslevi, a reserve military commander and member of Kibbutz Yavne, who serves as its high school director, the religious kibbutz members' success in the military is the direct result of the community in which they grow up.
According to the data, about 80% of religious kibbutz members leave the kibbutz before being inducted for a year of service or to study Torah in preparation for the military, in university or yeshiva. This period is utilized to prepare the men and women for military service, which includes learning about military campaigns and about the country, visiting the military officers school, motivational discussions, meetings with senior commanders who belong to the movement and more.
The data also reveals that the women from the religious kibbutzim serve the country for the required full two years, some of them in the IDF and others in national service. The movement encourages them to choose positions in intelligence, economic welfare, the medical corps, and education, where they will be able to provide a significant contribution while maintaining their religious values. A relatively small portion of them choose combat roles.