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Israelis shy away from serving in elite units

Israeli occupation forces [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli conscripts are shying away from serving in the elite combat and field units within the Israel Defence Forces, Haaretz reported on Monday. According to Quds Press, 23 per cent of the new recruits in the IDF said that they do not want to join the armoured corps, which is regarded as the most important of its combat units.

The data released this week also revealed the failure of the IDF to achieve a qualitative increase in recruiting religious Jews for the fifth year running. The army set a target of 3,200 recruits from the religious Jewish community, but only 2,850 joined up last year. The recruitment rate for men is 72 per cent; the balance is split between those who have medical exemptions from military service and members of the ultra-orthodox community.

Israel expects a real recruitment crisis to hit the IDF within the next three years as the number of soldiers is set to fall by 5,000 a year, even after a reduction of the conscription period to just 30 months.

Furthermore, the new set of statistics show that 10,618 Israeli soldiers have been imprisoned between January and November this year, compared to 14,051 who were imprisoned in the whole of 2016. Of these, 47 per cent went to prison for trying to avoid military service altogether; 34 per cent committed disciplinary offences; 7 per cent were involved in criminal activity; and 12 per cent were given jail terms for other reasons.

The IDF’s human resources department said that 14.8 per cent of all male soldiers get out of their military service, compared to 7.6 per cent of women. Last year, 7,000 Israeli soldiers, male and female, fled military service less than 18 months after recruitment.

Read: Lieberman calls for raising army’s budget to face regional changes

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