Last year the IDF began a new program to combine active duty with Torah study. The program, dubbed Shiluvim (lit. “Integration”) began with just 75 soldiers.

On Sunday, organizers announced that the project is set to double in size in its second year, with roughly 150 young men planning to enlist as Shiluvim soldiers this November.

The new recruits will have a wider variety of service options than their predecessors. While the first Shiluvim soldiers could choose from service in field intelligence, combat support or the Givati brigade, the newest soldiers will also be able to serve in a variety of other areas, including Nahal, Paratroopers, or the IDF Rabbinate.

In addition, organizers reported that the first group of soldiers has performed well in service. Several of the Shiluvim recruits have been summoned to officers' training programs.

The project differs from the traditional Hesder program, which also combines Torah and army service, in the balance it provides. Instead of the 3.5 years of learning and 1.5 of active duty expected of Hesder recruits, Shiluvim combines two full years of service with two of learning. Like Hesder, Shiluvim splits the Torah study in two, with half of the full-time learning occurring before service, and half afterward.

Previously, some soldiers who would have preferred to serve in a religious framework were deterred by the relatively short stint of active duty in the Hesder framework, and chose to enlist in largely secular units instead.