More than one in four eligible Israelis evade the draft, according to military statistics.
The Israel Defense Force’s Manpower Branch revealed Tuesday that 27.7 percent of potential 2007 conscripts did not enlist in the military, a figure suggesting a consistent rise in draft evasion.
Of those who did not sign up for national service, nearly half invoked their right to study in yeshiva. The rest either had criminal records or cited medical problems.
The Manpower Branch chief, Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern, predicted that by 2011 the rate of draft evasion would be 28.6 percent. He called for Israeli high schools to encourage more students to enlist, regardless of the rise and fall of the national security situation.
“The high motivation to serve in combat units is mainly because of a clear and present danger,” Stern said at a conference. “When that wanes, so does the motivation.”
Last year’s Lebanon war prompted a rise in enlistment figures amid concern that Israel could see a new conflict with Syria. The Syrian front has since fallen relatively quiet.