IDF head of planning: People's army becoming a myth

New data shows just 52% of teenagers are drafted into the army and 16% of those serve for just one year; 43% of religious girls don't serve at all.

IDF soldiers gaza 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
IDF soldiers gaza 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Just 52 percent of teenagers are drafted into the army and 16% of those serve for just one year, said IDF Col. Tziki Sela, head of the planning branch of the army's manpower department at Israel Teachers Union education conference "Creating a Future" on Tuesday. He said 43% of religious girls do not enter the army at all. "Drafting means to draft both the strong and the weak in society, as opposed to the US Army where just the weak are enlisted. The universal draft is a crucial ingredient for Israel's survival," Sela said. "A dangerous situation of extremes has been created in Israeli society: on the one hand, a group which is knowledgeable and ready to volunteer, and on the other hand, a sizable group with no motivation to give. There is no middle. Israel needs to rely on those who serve." He added that serving included both those who have enlisted and those doing national service. Sela sarcastically attacked the law that permits girls who declare they are religious to receive an automatic exemption from army service. "In the current situation, a girl could arrive at a draft center on Yom Kippur in a car, eat a non-kosher sandwich there and declare that she is religious, and that is enough from a legal perspective not to be able to draft her," Sela charged. According to him, 7,000 teens dodge the draft each year. Sela defined draft dodging as referring to anyone the draft law applies to, but chooses not to enlist. Sela also lamented the neglect of technical education in Israel, which, according to him, lowers Israel's capabilities and resilience to defend itself. He said to make up for the education gaps, the army trained 2,500 people a year in technical professions. Orna Beri, head of the Israel Union of capital risk investors, also noted at the conference that just 2% of Israeli pupils were considered exemplary. Moreover, Beri charged, the Education Ministry does not know how to deal with them and help them reach their potential. "The best way to close gaps in Israeli society is to invest in education. Moreover, it will be the top pupils who will help Israel deal with its enemies and dictate future trends," she said. It was also revealed at the conference that there has been a 4% rise in the number of women learning electronics and computers in the last decade, with a concurrent decrease of 5% among men studying the same subject. The two-day conference seeks to address the most important issues on the national agenda with a special focus on the impact of education upon them.