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December 18, 2022 5:20 pm

Israeli Recruits From High Socio-Economic Tiers Likelier to Join Combat, Tech Units

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

IDF soldiers completing the ground forces combat officers course in 2022. Photo: IDF / CC BY-NC 2.0

Israelis of a higher socio-economic level enlist in the military at a disproportionately high rate and are more likely to serve in combat and technology units, according to figures shared by the military and local media.

Military enlistment in Israel is mandatory for Jewish, Druze, and Circassian men and women over the age of 18. Various exemptions exist, most notably for Arab citizens and Haredi Jews, who make up roughly 30% of the Israeli population and may opt to enlist, but are not required to. Men must serve for 30 months and women for 24 months, unless they decide to join units requiring a longer time commitment.

Data shared by the Israeli military and local media on Thursday offered an insight into recruitment divisions based on socio-economic background, which the military splits into 10 tiers, with one being the lowest and 10 the top. It comes amid an ongoing debate over the representation of recruits from more affluent central Israel serving in combat and technology roles, as compared to those from the country’s periphery.

According to the military, higher socio-economic tiers also have a higher percentage of recruits serving in combat roles.

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Recruits from socio-economic tiers 7 to 10 represent some 40 percent of Israeli society, but 55 percent of the military’s servicemembers, indicating a higher than average level of enlistment, figures showed. Cities identified as having the greatest enlistment rates for combat units, relative to overall recruits, were from the center of the country, including Modi’in, Ra’anana, and Kfar Saba.

“Combat service must be maintained as the leading ethos of military service,” stated the head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, “the ethos on which we were educated and on which we will continue to educate future generations.”

Asor pointed out that 81% of male recruits who have a combat profile and an intelligence testing score of 70 or greater enlist in combat units, the majority of them in land combat units. The test scores range from 10 to 90, with 70 and above considered high.

“High-quality youth … who are driven by deep values ​​of mission and commitment come from all over Israeli society,” Asor said.

Members of higher socio-economic classes are also over-represented in technology units, with 9.63% of male recruits from the top socio-economic division joining these units, as compared with 0.22% of recruits from the lowest tier, local media reported. These disparities may have an extended impact, as many graduates of the military’s technology units are later recruited for lucrative jobs in Israel’s private technology sector.

The percentage of recruits in the military’s technology units goes down according to socio-economic status, with 6.79% of recruits from the second-highest tier serving and 5.19% of recruits from the third-highest.

The divisions also extend to sex, with no women from the lowest socio-economic tier serving in technology units.

“The IDF continues to implement programs to integrate and strengthen the periphery,” said Asor in comments reported by Yedioth Ahronoth. “We must continue to promote Haredi service in the IDF and build bridges. We work with great effort to integrate more youth from the periphery into technological units.”

“Meanwhile,” he added, “we operate and lead many educational programs out of the belief that it is important to give an equal opportunity to everyone who comes through our gates.”

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