IDF sees rise in number of Christian recruits in 2013

Since June, 84 Christians have volunteered the military, representing a spike in the recruitment rate, which has averaged 50 new annual recruits in past years.

IDF INFANTRY train 370 (photo credit: yaakov lappin)
IDF INFANTRY train 370
(photo credit: yaakov lappin)
The IDF has observed a rise in Christian-Arab enlistment.
Since June, 84 Christians have volunteered for the military, constituting a spike in recruitment from the community, which has averaged 50 annually of late.
“The last recruitment cycle is the largest observed in recent years,” an army source told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. A total of 140 Christian Arabs are on active service, while 400 are in the reserves.
“The contribution of minorities who voluntarily enlist is very important to the IDF’s capabilities,” the source said.
Some 60 Beduin signed up for military service in 2013 as well.
The army’s Personnel Directorate is responsible for overseeing the recruitment of minorities, who join up through a range of programs, such as conferences for high school students, in which their options in the military are discussed in detail.
Officers from the Personnel Directorate conduct home visits to perspective recruits, and accompany them throughout the enlistment process.
Earlier this week, 90 active and reserve Christian soldiers gathered in Nazareth for a conference organized by the Forum for Enlisting Christians, led by Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Naddaf.
Radical elements in the Arab-Israeli community have threatened, and in some cases assaulted, the forum’s members.
The military credits the forum with doubling the number of Christians serving in the security forces.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a video greeting to the conference, which met on Sunday, vowing to stand by the soldiers and to face down threats together with it. “I salute you, and support you,” the prime minister told the forum.