Israeli army inflated numbers of haredi Orthodox recruits


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The numbers of haredi Orthodox soldiers joining the Israeli army is lower than the numbers reported by the military.

The Israel Defense Forces says it’s because there was a change in the definition of a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, recruit.

In 2017, the IDF said that 3,070 haredi soldiers were recruited, but actually there were only 1,300 enlisted, the Kan public broadcaster first reported on Wednesday.

The definition in 2014 considered anyone who learned in a haredi school for two years of high school be considered a haredi recruit, meaning that someone who left that lifestyle before joining the military would still be considered haredi. New criteria in 2018 narrowed the definition.

The IDF said in a statement that the discrepancy was discovered as part of “internal control operations,” and the claim that it falsified data or attempted to mislead is “incorrect.”

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has ordered an investigation into how the numbers were calculated. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will convene to discuss the issue at a meeting Monday. Blue and White lawmaker Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff who heads the committee, called the meeting.

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