Daily Israel Report

IDF Combat Motivation Steady at 74.7%

Army releases statistics as it prepares to draft March 2014 enlistees and grapples with issues of equality.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/8/2014, 8:36 PM

Combat soldiers in live-fire drill
Combat soldiers in live-fire drill
Israel news photo: IDF spokesman

The motivation of draftees to serve in combat units appears to have stabilized at 74.7%, after hitting a record high of almost 80% in 2011, and then dipping to 72% in 2012. The number measures the proportion of fresh draftees who want to serve in combat units, out of all the draftees who are eligible for such units.

The March 2014 draft into the IDF's field units will begin Sunday. The IDF carries out three large draft cycles per year – in February-March, August and November.

Soldiers are asked which units they prefer to serve in, and the IDF said Saturday evening that 94% of the draftees joining the field units were placed in one of their three top choices.

In the present cycle, 383 of the draftees are graduates of pre-military academies, and 220 are members of the Druze sect.

Major General Orna Barbivai, Head of the IDF Personnel Department, said Saturday that “the present cycle is taking place in the midst of a wide public debate about equality in enlistment and service. The present enlistment numbers show the degree to which service is important to youths, who come to enlist with high motivation and with a will to carry out a meaningful and important service.

“The 'people's army' continues to be a pillar of Israeli society,” emphasized Barbivai. “We in the IDF are committed to enable all of the enlistees to experience a respecting and proper enlistement environment. This stems from the understanding that the human advantage is what enables the IDF to realize its goal in the face of any security challenge.”

In March 2011, motivation among new recruits to serve in combat units hit a record level, with 79.5% of all those fit for field unit duty requesting to serve in combat positions. This compares with 75.8% in 2010, 73.7% the year before, and around 70% in 2008.

In July 2012, combat motivation dipped to 72.3%. This year's figures indicate a stabilization at a level similar to 2010's.