The Air Force, a former dominion of secular soldiers, is in the midst of a revolutionary change in thinking and is drafting religious soldiers, according to the Hebrew newspaper Ma'ariv. The first stage of the plan is to draft religious youth as technicians and engineers and later to train draftees to be pilots.
Air Force Commander Eliezer Shakedi is behind the change, in direct opposition to the policies of former commander and former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who tried to break up religious ground units. Under his command of the Air Force, units often were reported as engaging freely in drugs and sex.
"This move will be be a hug and a renewed connection," said one Air Force officer quoted by Ma'ariv. "Both sides will profit...The dynamics from the disengagement [expulsion] between the religious community and the government can bring about difficult results and we need to do everything to demonstrate the fact that we are one people. They are part of us and we are part of them."