Navy Welcomes Back Hesder Yeshiva Recruitment

Navy had cancelled the third hesder recruitment cycle but changed its mind at the last minute after heavy pressure from commanders.

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Gil Ronen,

Naval fire.
Naval fire.
Israel news photo (file)
In a last-minute reversal of a previous decision, the Israel Navy has decided to do everything possible to carry out plans for including hesder yeshiva soldiers in its August recruitment cycle. The recruitment cycle will be the Navy’s third hesder cycle.
According to Makor Rishon, the hesder cycle was temporarily cancelled earlier this month when the IDF decided additional staff work was necessary. However, News1 reported Sunday that lower level Navy commanders and elements in the IDF’s Personnel Section applied “heavy pressure” to reverse the decision, and convinced the relevant officers that the hesder boys’ contribution is important to the naval corps.

Naval training (Israel news photo / Navy website)

Staff work on the matter has been accelerated but because of the last-minute nature of the decision, it is not yet certain that the hesder recruits will indeed join the next recruitment cycle, despite the Navy’s renewed efforts. 

On Monday, a pre-recruitment trial period of training, or ‘gibush’, for 19 hesder graduates will begin. These 19 graduates have already been assigned to other units, such as Golani, Givati and others. If enough of them pass the trial, the hesder company will be established. At least 12 (and preferably 15) soldiers are needed for such a company to be created.

The Hesder Yeshivas Union expressed its pleasure with the decision.

Navy life (Israel news photo / Navy website)

Earlier in July, it was reported, the Navy decided to halt the service of hesder soldiers in its ranks, after a year-long experiment. The Makor Rishon report cited hesder sources as estimating that the decision was the result of disagreements over the Navy’s laxness on kashrut of food and the fact that a female soldier participated in one of the exercises.

The IDF denied, however, that this was the problem and issued a statement to the effect that further planning was needed before the next wave of hesder soldiers is assimilated into the naval corps.

The hesder (or ‘arrangement’) is a course of service which includes a shortened period of military service combined with yeshiva study.