Number of haredim in national service plummets

Despite growth in the number of army recruits, steep decline in number of haredim joining civilian national service.

Ben Shaul ,

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Illustration
Flash90

While the number of haredi recruits in the IDF has been on the rise, the number of haredim enlisting in the civilian national service has fallen sharply.

According to figures provided by the National Service Authority, only 728 haredim volunteered for service this year.

The number falls far short of the 1,800 set as a goal by the government last February.

The document, first publicized by BeHadrei Haredim, offers some possible explanations for the drop in enlistment, despite the concurrent increase in IDF enlistment among haredim.

Chief among the reasons for the decline, claimed the report, is increased opposition by some within the haredi community, curtailing efforts to directly recruit volunteers.

“First of all, it is impossible to have a broad, open campaign [to encourage enlistment], due to fears over the opposition of extremists, leading to a lack of awareness within the haredi public both regarding the options for national service as well as the advantages and benefits at the end of the service.”

“Some of the haredi leadership,” the report added, “is not enthusiastic about the idea of civilian national service, and at best expresses silent support for it.”

The report also noted the effect of the “hardak” campaign to delegitimize haredi recruits for the army or national service.

“In addition, there is among many in the haredi community a negative image of haredi servicemen in the civilian national service. Extremists within the haredi community attack the service and those who serve and threaten them, claiming they won’t be able to find a spouse, that they will be ostracized from the community, their children will be expelled from the haredi education system, etc.”



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