IDF soldiers training
Soldiers of the Golani reconnaissance battalion embarking on exercises. Photo by Itzik Ben-Malki
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Thirteen percent of all combat company commanders on active service in the IDF come from settlements, army weekly Bamahane reported Tuesday, a five-fold over-representation based on their proportion in the general population of Israel.

The company commanders living in settlements and serving in the infantry arm of the military also outnumber company commanders living in kibbutzim and moshavim. The record-holder among settlements for numbers of commanders is Eli, in Samaria, where the first pre-military religious academy was established.

Commanders from the settlements are heavily represented in the Golani brigades, where 20 percent of company commanders live over the Green Line; only 11 percent come from kibbutzim and moshavim. The ratio is more balanced in the Nahal brigade, where 22 percent of company commanders come from moshavim, 15 percent from kibbutzim, and 19 percent from the settlements. The Nahal brigade hold the record for number of kibbutz and moshav residents among its officers.

Bamahane also reported that while 60 percent of company commanders come from cities, only three of them hail from Tel Aviv. The number of Tel Aviv officers usually rises during their study period, which for some comes after having served as a company commander, when many move to bigger cities.

Two weeks ago, another military magazine, Ma'arachot, published the first official data on the steep rise of number of religious officers serving in the Israel Defense Forces. According to the report, the number of religious graduates of the prestigious infantry officers course skyrocketed from only 2.5 percent in 1990 to 31.4 percent in 2007 - representing a 12-fold increase over 17 years.