March sees rise in motivation to serve in combat units

Efforts still focused on fighting draft dodging.

IDF cadets 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF cadets 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Amid growing efforts to curb the rising number of draft dodgers, the IDF noted on Wednesday a slight increase in motivation among youth who will be drafted into service next week to serve in combat units. A total of 70.1 percent of the youths requested to serve in a combat unit ahead of the March draft that will begin on Sunday and continue until the end of the month in comparison to 66% who asked for combat units in the last draft in November. A senior officer from the IDF's Human Resources Department noted that public pressure, including an unprecedented ad campaign throughout the country, was responsible for the shift in sentiments among youth enlisting this month into the IDF. "This is the first draft of people who began the enlistment process after the Second Lebanon War," the officer said. "The increase in motivation is a demonstration of the public's support for the IDF." Despite the rise in motivation, the IDF is still concerned with last year's sharp increase in the number of youth evading military service, which today stands at 27%, including 11% who are haredi. The officer said that the IDF was working to increase the number of haredi youth who serve in the army and had been holding talks with a number of key haredi officials for this purpose. The officer expressed hope that the 11% would drop to 5% over the next decade. In the upcoming draft, the IDF is also noting the enlistment of 800 hesder yeshiva students, 270 of whom will be drafted into seven mixed secular-religious units. The IDF started drafting hesder students, who serve for 16 months, into mixed units three years ago with the ultimate goal that all of the units will be mixed. Due to resistance from certain yeshivot, in the upcoming draft only seven out of the 16 platoons will be mixed. The rest will consist of strictly religious soldiers. The Golani Brigade continues to lead with 3.5 draftees competing for every spot in comparison to the Nahal Brigade which had 2.5 per spot. There was also a slight increase in the number of draftees who requested to serve in the Artillery and Armored Corps.