IDF creates new medical profile of 35

Sharp drop in birth rate and immigration brings IDF to define new category of fitness for service.

idf recruits bakum 248 88 (photo credit: IDF [file])
idf recruits bakum 248 88
(photo credit: IDF [file])
While they are not healthy enough to become Israeli versions of Rambo, youths who until now were deemed physically unfit for military service will be allowed to enlist in the IDF in January under a new medical profile. The decision to create the new 35 medical profile (until now, 45 was the lowest profile with which a soldier could serve) was made ahead of an expected drop in the number of Israelis turning 18 over the next four years. "Due to a sharp drop in birthrates and immigration numbers, we are looking at a drop of 4,000 new recruits in the coming three to four years," a high-ranking officer in the IDF Human Resources Department said Sunday. The officer said that despite the drop, the IDF would still be able to fill the needs of all of its units. In the November 2007 draft, which began Sunday and will continue throughout the next two weeks, 67 percent of new recruits asked to serve in combat units - a 3% drop from last year. However, the officer said the figure still meant that two out of every three draftees had asked to serve in a combat unit, and added that there were not enough slots for everyone. "Nowadays, we don't take all of the 67%," he said. "So in five years, if the percentage that wants to serve in combat stays the same, we will be able to fill all the combat units." The new 35 profile will allow approximately 1,000 youth who were exempt from military service until now to enlist in the IDF per year. Most of these youth suffer from celiac disease, hearing loss or other illnesses that would allow them to serve in non-combat positions on bases near immediate medical care, if needed. Draft numbers will start to climb again in 2011, when children born after the baby boom of the first Gulf War begin to enlist. The numbers will also be affected by children born to immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union who moved to Israel during the early 1990s.