The military police in Israel have launched a widespread campaign for the arrest of thousands of soldiers who are fleeing from military service.
The campaign, explained a senior officer, has come about in response to the dramatic increase in the number of deserters from the army in recent years; last year the figure was 1,800, rising to 2,700 this year. An estimated additional 1,800 young men and women are trying to avoid any kind of military service.
According to official data released by the Israeli army and published in the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, 700 young women have fled the ranks; another 800 young Israeli women have been able to avoid national service in the military by using fake documentation about their religiosity.
The police campaign is supposed to last for two weeks in order to capture as many soldiers as possible and bring them before a court martial. If found guilty, they face having to spend 28 days in a military prison.