The Israel Defense Forces Manpower Directorate’s 2011 draft statistics show that one in two Israeli citizens of induction age, including Israeli Arabs, does not enlist into the IDF, and predicts that by the year 2020 this number is likely to rise to an alarming 60 percent.
According to the report, 25% of eligible males did not enlist into the IDF last year, including 13% who were haredim with exemptions for religious studies, and 12% non-haredim exempt for other reasons (half of which were medical). There were even fewer female draftees: 40.9% of women did not enlist, including 35% claiming a religious exemption from service. The IDF has expressed concern over the recent numbers and what they say about the future.
There are currently around 2,000 haredim serving in special programs in the IDF, among them Shahar (a Hebrew acronym for “integration of haredim”), which was created in 2007 and is intended for men at the ages 22-26 who have families. Participants in the program take various courses and are trained to fill technology positions in the IDF for 18 to 24 months.
It should be noted that Shahar is one of the IDF’s more expensive programs as it enlists soldiers who require large amounts of financial aid as husbands and fathers. The IDF Manpower Directorate has stated that the cost of a haredi soldier is four times that of a regular soldier…