Female soldiers
Female soldiersShlomi Cohen, Flash 90

There is a gradual decrease in the number of girls enlisting in the IDF, according to data obtained by Israel Hayom.

The data show that the decline comes despite the opening of other areas in the IDF, including combat units.

In the last 20 years, there has been a drop in the number of recruits, along with an increase in the number of declarations of religiosity, which indicates that the trend of recruiting religious girls to the IDF is not effective on the scale presented by the various bodies.

Data obtained by the Hotam organization show that while the recruitment rate in 1999 was 61.8 percent of all young women of the age group, in 2019 the recruitment rate was 55.9 percent. The significant decline occurred in the early 2000s, but continues today. For comparison, in the years 2015-2019 there was a decrease of nearly 3 percent in the number of recruits in the IDF.

At the same time, there is an increase in the number of declarations of religiosity submitted each year. In 1999, 26.98 percent of girls submitted a declaration of religiosity, while in 2019 the number was 35.8 percent. This shows that while the IDF works a lot, sometimes excessively according to sources who deal with the matter, to prevent women from declaring themselves religious, in practice the girls ask for exemption from service on these grounds.

Another statistic deals with exemption on medical grounds. While in 1999 1.7 percent of women received an exemption on medical grounds, after a decade, in 2009, the number was already 2.5 percent and in 2019 about 3.9 percent of all recruits.

At the same time, the organization revealed data from a CBS survey for 2019, which shows that military service affects the religious level of women.

According to CBS data, only 36 percent of girls between the ages of 20 and 29 who grew up in a religious home and served in the army defined themselves as religious today. The other girls from religious backgrounds who served in the IDF defined themselves as in the range between traditional-religious and secular.

In contrast, among girls of the same age group who served in national service, a completely different picture emerged, and 82 percent who grew up in a religious home defined themselves as religious today.

The Hotam organization said that "despite the enormous efforts of recruitment bureaus to persuade religious girls to enlist, and to re-present things each time anew as if this campaign is successful, the trend has been found to be the opposite. This detail creates great dissonance and lack of public trust in a body that needs to be the one that garners the greatest consensus and respect among the citizens of Israel."

The IDF spokesman said in response, "Most of the decline described in recruitment is the result of demographic growth in the haredi and religious population. We note that this trend also characterizes the percentage of men recruited."