More than 500 haredi men enlist to IDF in last two weeks

There are currently about 100 haredi soldiers from Tomer on operational duty in the Samaria region at present, and another 150 in training including 60 who enlisted last week.

Haredi men enlist in IDF (photo credit: Courtesy)
Haredi men enlist in IDF
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Over the past two weeks some 550 haredi men have enlisted in the IDF for assignment in combat infantry units and various technical branches.
Of the new recruits, 60 will go to the Tomer haredi company, a combat unit in the Givati Brigade, and 140 will go to the Netzah Yehudah battalion, another haredi combat unit.
Other haredi enlistees are set to join technical units in the air force, navy, intelligence, technology and logistics, and teleprocessing corps.
An IDF source said the new intake of 60 recruits for the Tomer company is higher than the usual intake of 40, and this is due to frequent requests from soldiers in the young company, established in August 2014, to serve as officers. The source said that some 10 to 15 soldiers in each intake request to take the officers course, but since taking that many soldiers away from an active combat unit would not be feasible, the new intake was expanded to 60.
Several soldiers from Tomer are already in officers training, which will finish in four months, and they will then return to the haredi company to serve as commanders.
The source noted that for each intake to the Tomer company, there has been approximately 100 applicants. Those who are not able to join in one intake are asked to wait till the following draft for Tomer and given priority for it.
There are currently about 100 haredi soldiers from Tomer on operational duty in the Samaria region and another 150 in training, including the 60 who enlisted last week.
The source said that Tomer was designed specifically for mainstream haredi youth who had attended yeshiva and decided after several years? study to enlist in the IDF. All 60 new recruits are yeshiva graduates.
The Netzah Yehudah battalion takes men from a wider range of backgrounds within the haredi and religious communities, some from less conservative sectors of the ultra-Orthodox world but some also from the mainstream as well.
Applicants for Tomer who are still in yeshiva are rejected and told they can apply only once they have left, so as not to cause friction and opposition from the yeshiva deans and the haredi rabbinic leadership.
The source said that Tomer shows that there is a growing desire among mainstream haredi youth to perform combat roles. He added that the annual enlistment targets from the haredi sector for the year 2015, which for the IDF is July 2015 to June 2016, will be met and that in general efforts to draft haredi men into the IDF “are going in the right direction.”