IDF: Mandatory service shortened from 32 months to 30

Starting July 1st, recruits to serve two and a half years. But the law might still change

IDF soldiers walk on Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, March 31, 2020 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
IDF soldiers walk on Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, March 31, 2020
Mandatory military service for men has been shortened to from 32 months to 30 months (two-and-a-half-years) for all recruits who are drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, starting on July 1, 2020, the IDF announced Wednesday.
The announcement sent to recruits by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit also states that the duration of their service may still change in the future.
 “We would like to note that there is a possibility that after the law has been enacted, it could be amended, so that if the duration of the mandatory service changes, the new law will apply to you,” the statement read.
Women who volunteer to serve in positions where they serve the same amount of time as their male counterparts will also be subject to the new changes.
Men served 36 months in the IDF for many years, but in 2015 their compulsory service was cut down to 32 as part of the IDF’s multi-year Gideon plan. Women serve a total of 24 months.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi is said to be opposed to continued shortening of mandatory service, which could create serious personnel problems in the IDF and could affect the IDF’s fighting ability as the time devoted to training troops would also have to be shortened.
A 2018 military ombudsman’s report criticized the 2016 shortening of service and the cutting of the number of career soldiers in the army by firing some 2,500 career soldiers warning that the move “compromises the ability [of the IDF] to meet tasks.”
While opposition lawmakers have criticized the move, with former defense minister Naftali Bennett taking to Twitter warning that the move would have a detrimental effect on the IDF’s capabilities in any future war.
“Shortening the service of IDF soldiers is a grave mistake that will harm [military] strength of soldiers in the field units, the quality and depth of training for IDF soldiers and, above all, the IDF’s fitness in the coming war,” he wrote, adding that he urges the government to cancel the amendment.
While Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a hearing on the matter last week, he has not yet commented on the change announced Wednesday. He is currently in the midst of formulating a new mandatory service model which would see that all Israeli citizens would be required to perform some service, including national service or with emergency services like Magen David Adom or the Police.