Second Nahal Haredi battalion being considered after best draft yet
Army also recently approved the establishment of a Nahal Haredi reserve battalion.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF is considering creating a second Nahal Haredi battalion sometime in the next year after the unit enlisted an unprecedented number of combat soldiers on Wednesday.
More than 170 combat soldiers enlisted into the Netzah Yehuda Battalion - the official name for Nahal Haredi - which is considered the equivalent of 200 men, since most drafts include noncombat soldiers as well. In Wednesday's draft, the unit was instructed not to enlist noncombat soldiers, since there are already enough in the unit.
The battalion belongs to the Kfir Brigade and is based in the Jordan Valley, although it is currently deployed in the Jenin area. Most of its 700 men come from a haredi or national-religious background. After they complete two years of service, Nahal Haredi offers them help in completing high school matriculation and pre-college studies.
Due to the high enlistment on Wednesday - in March the unit enlisted 160 soldiers - the IDF is considering establishing a second battalion. The army also recently approved the establishment of a Nahal Haredi reserve battalion that will draft soldiers from the unit's more than 2,000 graduates.
"Our plan is to reach the level of a brigade," said Rabbi Tzvi Klebanow, director of the Nahal Haredi Organization. "The building toward that goal is accomplished by adding additional battalions, and this is done incrementally and by increasing recruitment."
Klebanow said the increase in draft numbers was a result of the battalion's move from the Jordan Valley - where it had been stationed in recent years - to the more volatile northern Samaria.
"The biggest factor was the move to Jenin," he said. "When you enlist into a battalion, you want to know you are doing something, and the deployment in Jenin sends the message that the soldiers are doing important work and are seeing action."
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