Israeli Army Still Not Meeting Its Recruitment Target Among ultra-Orthodox

While 2016 saw the most Haredi men ever drafted in a single year, the gaps between the government-set quotas and the number of draftees are growing

Ultra-Orthodox people protest against enlistment in the Israeli army in Jerusalem, February 7, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Israeli army has not met its goals for recruitment among the ultra-Orthodox population for four years running, and the ratio of Haredi enlistees has been dropping in comparison to the government’s objectives.

Some 2,800 Haredi men enlisted during 2016. Although that’s the highest number of Haredim ever drafted in a single year (in 2015, the total was 2,475), it is also the year with the greatest gap between the quota and actual number recruited; the goal for that year was to draft 3,200 ultra-Orthodox men.

For the last seven years the army has been working to fill government-set quotas that gradually rose each year. In 2011 the IDF was to draft 1,200 Haredim, while in 2015 the quota was set at 2,700. The gaps between the quotas and number of enlistees have been growing. In 2014 the IDF drafted 2,203 Haredim, 95.7 percent of the quota, in 2015 it reached 91.6 percent, while in draft year for 2016, which ended last month, it only reached 87.5 percent.

Nevertheless, the IDF is encouraged by the fact that the actual number of Haredim enlisting has been rising every year. 

According to a Personnel Directorate officer, the ultra-Orthodox company in the Paratroopers Brigade is attracting numerous Haredim, and a third round of enlistment has been opened.