Israel's Newest IDF Recruits Less Eager to Do Combat Service

More than 70 percent of inductees wanted to serve in field units, a 2-percent drop from the corresponding draft cohort a year ago.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces’ August draft began Sunday with the percentage of recruits seeking to do combat service falling slightly for the second straight year.

According to the Personnel Directorate, 70.3 percent of inductees wanted to serve in field units, a 2-percent drop from the corresponding draft cohort a year ago. Only 42.2 percent wanted to serve in the infantry.

The IDF said that despite the slightly poorer showing, "the highest level of motivation for combat service has been maintained" in recent years.

"An average of between 70 percent and 76 percent of able-bodied recruits express a desire to serve in combat positions, and they are assigned to a broad range of tasks," the IDF said in a statement. "Generalizing about a decline in motivation to fight does not reflect the overall situation, which reflects a high and essentially stable level [of motivation].”

The head of the Personnel Directorate, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, said the instability in the region reinforced the need for a strong military "based on a clear and significant human advantage."

"As a people’s army, the IDF gives expression to all sectors of Israeli society and gives everyone an equal opportunity to contribute and have an influence," she said. "We expect recruits to take on meaningful challenges and roles."

Recruits at an IDF draft center.Credit: David Bachar

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