CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - In an undeniable statement of Israeli youth's love for their country, 70 percent of high school seniors requested to serve in Israel Defense Forces (IDF) combat units ahead of the March draft, which begins Sunday.
"This is the first draft of people who began the enlistment process after the Second Lebanon War [in the summer of 2006]," a senior IDF Human Resources Department officer said. "The increase in motivation is a demonstration of the public's support for the IDF," he said.
The percentages of draftees wanting to serve in combat units far outnumber the 27 percent who don't want to serve at all, 11 percent of whom are ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews.
The government grants exemption to full-time yeshiva (religious seminary) students, who devote themselves to studying the Torah (law) instead of serving in the nation's defense forces.
The IDF hopes to lower the percentage of Haredi Jews opting out of military service from 11 to 5 percent in the next decade.
Of the 800 ultra-Orthodox recruits in the March draft, 270 will serve in mixed units, with both secular and religious soldiers, while the remainder will be placed in strictly religious platoons.
The two most popular combat units are the Golani and Nahal Brigades. For the Golani Brigade, 3.5 draftees vie for each available position and 2.5 apply for each spot in the Nahal Brigade.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi was drafted into the Golani Brigades, where he later served as deputy commander and then commander of the elite unit.
The number of recruits wanting to serve in the Artillery and Armored Corps is also up.
Source: The Jerusalem Post