IDF Recruits Want Combat Duty

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Seventy-six percent of Israeli youth getting ready for their compulsory military service want to train for combat units.

The percentage of new recruits choosing combat duty rose 3 percent since last March following Operation Cast Lead, the IDF's three-week military incursion in the Gaza Strip.

According to one Israel Defense Forces officer, the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, which were applied in the Gaza operation, has spurred the new recruits to seek combat service.

"One can detect a clear line between the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, which points to the change the IDF has undergone, resulting in many teens' strong will to be combatants," he said.

"Another reason for high motivation rates is the strengthening of the connection with the young recruits from the time they are in 11th grade," he said.

"The army is there, providing them with information, inviting them to the bases, opening its gates to boost their confidence level and equip them with the most updated information," the officer said.

The IDF has to balance the enthusiasm for combat duty with the army's other needs.

"We are starting to look for solutions to find the right balance in manpower assignments," he said.

"We are certainly exploring the options in light of the fact that it's hard to fill the non-combat positions," the officer said.

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YNet news contributed to this report.

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