The Israeli Military’s Call Center Isn't Answering

Army’s much-vaunted induction center telephone inquiry service has collapsed under the high demand, leaving soon-to-be-recruits in the dark.

The Israel Defense Force's induction center.
Moti Milrod

The line at the Israel Defense Forces is busy. A phone-line problem at the IDF’s induction center is making it hard for thousands of young people to contact the unit responsible for placement of new draftees. Over the past two weeks, parents of the recruits have been reporting widespread problems getting through to the center.

Because repeated efforts to get through to the unit’s call center have been unsuccessful, young people about to be drafted have been left unable to clarify their situation. Some of the more resourceful among them have contacted other military offices, including the office that deals with public complaints, which reports directly to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.

At first, when the mother of a future soldier called the complaint office, the response reportedly was that the office is not the conscription center, and no explanation was available as to why the conscription center – which used to be known by the Hebrew acronym “Bakum” and is now known as “Meitav” – was not answering.

“The helplessness is driving me crazy, especially the feeling of a lack of oversight over the division that receives all the calls from people due to be drafted. It doesn’t seem logical to me that they haven’t answered for more than two weeks and don’t call us,” the mother told Haaretz.

The manpower division had boasted that the draft call center functions in a manner similar to call centers in the business sector. Signage posted for the staff of the call center directs them on how to deal with “difficult customers” and directs them to conclude calls from future soldiers by wishing them success in the army. Over the past two weeks, however, the Facebook page of Meitav has been filled with criticism from future soldiers and their parents over the inability to call the office.

IDF sources say the phone system at the center has collapsed due high demand resulting from the large number of days scheduled for placement of soldiers during the current period. They are aware of the problem, they say, and are working to fix it. The head of the manpower division, Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolansky, has asked to be briefed personally on how the matter is being dealt with. In the interim, the army is suggesting that the unit’s Facebook page be used, where sources say inquiries will be responded to daily until midnight every day of the week except Friday and Saturday.

The IDF spokesman’s office responded similarly and expressed regret over the inconvenience. The Meitav unit is working to address the problem, the spokesman’s office said.