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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why Israelis don't go to the army.

Headline:  IDF: Nearly 28% of Israeli males avoided conscription in 2007 
But it is not quite true. They didn't all "avoid" conscription.
The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that 27.7 percent of Israeli males of conscription age are not inducted into the army.
Army statistics presented at the Sderot conference on societal issues showed that 11.2 percent of those who avoided conscription did so under exemptions granted to yeshiva students.
OK, those people are avoiding conscription.
According to the article, another 7.3 percent were granted medical deferments. The figure apparently includes psychological deferments, often cited as a source of "gray avoidance," referring to young men who avoid service by presenting evidence that they are mentally unfit to serve.
IDF raised its medical standards over the years. At least half of those people probably have actual diseases or illness. If one in ten people in the world suffer from an affective disorder, there is bound to be a percentage of those unfit for service for that reason, plus people who lost limbs in accidents, have congenital defects or are mentally challenged. A mentally disturbed person with a gun is not a great combination. Picture a young man with a wild look in his eye. If this guy shows up at Tel Hashomer and says "YEAH - GIMME a GUN" what should you do? Is he "avoding conscription?"
According to the article, a total of 4.7 percent were ruled ineligible because of criminal records, and 4.2 percent because they were residing abroad. Those numbers should worry us, not just because of the army issue. But it is really not the best idea to train convicted drug dealers in single combat and give them M-16s. Really it isn't. They aren't avoiding army service.
The largest single group of young Israelis who avoid conscription is comprised of women who claim exemptions on the grounds of being religious. This group makes up 35 percent of all women eligible for the draft.
I suspect these numbers will evoke complaints from American Zionists like Daniel Pipes, who say Israelis are shirking our duty. Perhaps, but I think that 100% of American Jewish males avoided Israeli army service.
Ami Isseroff

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