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Israel Extends Compulsory Military Service for Men to 30 Months

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Prime Minister Levi Eshkol announced in Parliament today that compulsory military service for men will be extended from 26 months to 30 months. The decision was understood to be strictly a defensive measure brought about by continued El Fatah and other terrorist raids into Israel.

Observers stressed that the extension was proof of Israel’s non-aggressive intentions. It was explained that additional manpower was needed to provide effective guard over Israel’s borders, a duty which requires more men than would a retaliatory raid plan. However, the lengthened service will pose new burdens on Israel’s budget at a time of serious economic difficulties.

Military service for both men and women was 24 months during the early years of statehood. Then the call up period for men was extended to 30 months. Three years ago, the period was reduced to 26 months for men and 20 months for women. Under the regulations announced today, women will serve for 20 months as before.

The Premier also told Parliament that Israel’s border police contingents will be strengthened. Their main responsibility is to guard Israel’s borders against infiltration. The border police have recruited many non-Jews, principally members of the Druze minority.

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