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Women opt out of IDF

by: Hanan Greenberg, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-07-24

Women in the IDF

Women in the IDF

Israel Defence Forces officials are increasingly concerned about the increase in the rate of women who opt out of the army.  In 1991, about 32 percent of women eligible for army service failed to enlist in the IDF, but in 2005 the figure stood at 42.3 percent. 

In the past year, the number of women who opted out of the army after declaring they were religious rose by 2.2 percent compared to last year, IDF Personnel Directorate Head Elazar Stern told reporters Sunday.

"There are enough jobs for these girls in the IDF,” Stern said. “There’s an unbearable ease in all matters related to submitting affidavits regarding a request for an exemption on religious grounds."

On a different front, stern presented data indicating a slight decrease in new recruits’, both male and female, motivation to serve in combat units. Overall, 63.9 percent of recruits asked to serve in a field unit compared to 64.3 percent last year.

The decrease could be explained by the relative lull in fighting with the Palestinians, he said.

“The decreasing rate of girls in the IDF also affects the guys, as they come from the same environment,” Stern said. “The question of motivation should not be taken for granted.”

Stern also noted the upcoming recruitment round features the first signs of a smaller regular army, with the number of new recruits going down as a result of demographical changes and a lower rate of immigration into the country, as well as an increase in the number of exemptions granted.

As a result of the trend, it would be difficult to implement proposals calling for a shorter mandatory army service, he said.

Reproduced with permission and copyright: Ynetnews