Religious soldiers once again make up a disproportionately high number of the graduating IDF officers' course, with good education being cited as one of the reasons.
Although the national religious community makes up far less than 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population, 22 percent of the officers are religious.
Tuesday’s graduation ceremony for 396 new officers was attended by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Commander of the Officers' School, Major General Shlomo Turgeon.
One of the graduates, Elnatan Lieberman, told Israel National News that one of the reasons for the large presence of religious soldiers is “good education.” Another new officer, also religious, cited personal meetings among friends who raise morale and encourage them in their military service.
The expulsion of Jews from their Gaza and northern Samaria homes, which were destroyed by the government in 2005, had a temporary effect, said the new officers. "It deterred us and raised questions, but we realized that there was only one thing that can keep us here, and if we start taking part in unrelated activities, we won’t get anywhere. Together, we can build something beautiful.”