Officer: IDF on brink of abyss over draft dodging
Army's Personnel Directorate chief says number of Jewish youths evading military service may reach 40% over next decade
Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, Major-General Avi Zamir, visited an Ashdod high school Wednesday and met with its teachers as part of a military initiative meant to try and reintroduce military values to youths.
Zamir, who focused on the rising numbers of draft dodgers, warned that the coming decade may see up to 40% of Jewish teenager evade military service.
The situation, he added, can turn even worse: "Taking into consideration Israeli Arab youths, we are facing a situation in which 70% of youths will not enlist to military to national service.
"Even now the notion of 'the people's army' is fraying and of these trends continue we'll be on the brink of an abyss," he said.
According to IDF data for 2008, 72% of teenage Jewish boys and 54% of girls enlist in the military, placing draft dodging rates at 37%.
Zamir was especially critical of the 38% of teenage girls who use a false claim of religious observance to dodge the draft. "That, to me, is cynical abuse of the law. We're not too far off from seeing those numbers hit 50%."
The military and the Prime Minister's Office are also working together to increase the number of haredim who perform military service, and so far, according to Zamir, their numbers have increased to 1,000 a year.
The head of the IDF Personnel Directorate also said that the military must do more to aid soldier who complete their service, and especially the 20,000 combat soldiers who are discharged of service every year after an extremely grueling service.
Zamir noted that the burden of reserve duty is far from being equally distributed: The IDF currently has 450,000 reservists between the ages of 21-40, but only 100,000 of them carry our 10 days or more of reserve duty every year, "And we must assist then."