Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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9 Tammuz 5759 - June 23, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Immigrants 25 and Over are Not Drafted Due to Budgetary Considerations

by Aryeh Zisman

Immigrants from the CIS who are age 25 and older are not drafted into the Israeli army due to budgetary considerations, even if they want to serve. This was already disclosed two years ago, and the security system is aware of it. Former Chief of Staff, Amnon Lipkin Shachak confirmed this week that immigrants are not drafted, and said that the reason for this policy is indeed budgetary.

About 100,000 immigrants, mostly from the former Soviet Union, are among those not drafted. All of the former IDF chiefs of staff, as well as the heads of the security arms and other senior officials in the army are aware of the situation, but none of them ever publicly opposed the decison. Yesterday the IDF was asked why the politicians make such a fuss about the drafting of yeshiva students if there is no budget for drafting the 100,000 immigrants who want to enlist in the army, but are rejected and not taken.

Amnon Shachak noted that when he was Chief of Staff, the army did not draft the immigrants due to budgetary considerations. He said that he is referring to men of 25 and up, who have families and cannot contribute to the army as regular soldiers. "This procedure has been in existence for a number of years, due to the large waves of immigration, and the immigrants of whom we are speaking would anyway not serve a full stint in the army. Since they won't able to integrate with the IDF, the army has made a budgetary consideration by not drafting them."

Shachak also said that the claim that these immigrants could help lessen the burden of the reserves is not correct, since only soldiers who served in combat units during their regular army service can perform long reserves missions. "The reserves service isn't based on the principle of equality, and it falls mainly on combat soldiers who served in the regular army. Most of the other reserves men aren't called up at all, but do a brief stint. The immigrants will not make things easier for the reserves."

Shachak confirmed that this topic was raised many times at all of the political levels, as well as before the Security Ministers and the heads of the security arms. However the IDF has determined an order of preferences, and has even lessened the reserve stints of permanent reserves soldiers.

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