Israel cracks down on draft dodgers

Israel
is tightening criteria for military draftees who want exemptions
on psychiatric grounds.Military sources said Thursday that starting next
month, conscripts who ask for a mental-health evaluation will have to face a
panel of officers and experts rather than a lone psychiatrist, as has been the
case for years. Candidates found to be faking mental illness in a bid to
shirk mandatory military service will be given dishonorable discharges and
deemed ineligible for various state benefits. The move follows concern that as a
many as 50 percent of conscripts who receive psychiatric discharges do so
without reasonable grounds. Israel’s draft boards previously had erred on the side
of caution, given findings that some soldier suicides might have been
prevented if symptoms had been spotted in time. Following the tactical
setbacks of last year’s Lebanon War, there has been a toughening of standards
throughout Israel’s armed forces.

NEXT STORY