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Israel: Enthusiasm to serve in army declines

Soldiers and tanks belonging to the Israeli Army [file photo]
Soldiers and tanks belonging to the Israeli Army [File photo]

New data published by the Israeli military revealed a decline in enthusiasm to serve amongst young people conscripted into service. The data also revealed a drop in motivation to serve within combat units.

This data coincides with the annual conscription recruitment cycle for the Israeli army.

According to the data, 28.1 per cent of males and 41.9 per cent of females who are obligated to serve in the military did not adhere to Israel’s recruitment law. Ordinarily, military service begins when Israelis reach 18 years of age.

The data also indicated that 14.7 per cent have abstained from military service under a religious clause of the law, which provides exemptions to Haredi youth who study the Torah in a Yeshiva.

In addition, five per cent were exempted from military service due to psychological reasons, 2.1 per cent for other health issues, 3.4 per cent due to other reasons – such as being in possession of criminal records – and 2.9 per cent were outside Israel.

Israeli data also showed 14.5 per cent of young soldiers did not complete their full service period. The majority of them received an exemption from service due to psychological reasons, and did not receive a military service completion certificate.

A further 34.7 per cent of young women recruited for military services received exemptions on religious grounds.

Despite this, the number of women who completed education in state-religious schools and then moved on to complete their military service has increased from 934 in 2010 to 2,400 this year.

The number of Haredi Jews in Israel reflects on the army, as the army has yet to achieve the goal it set itself regarding the recruitment of young Haredis. They had aimed to recruit 2,700 Haredis this year, but fell short by recruiting 2,528.

However, what may concern the army the most is the decline in enthusiasm to serve in combat units. Last year 71.9 per cent of recruits expressed their desire to serve in combat units compared to 69.8 per cent this year, a slight decline.

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