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A third of Israelis are saying NO to the draft

IDF new data shows that one out of three Israeli avoids military service


The figures show a clear downward trend in IDF enlistment. In 2007 a quarter of males did not enlist in the Israeli military, today it's almost a third. The grounds to receive an exemption are medical or psychological reasons, religion (studying in a yeshiva), as well as conscientious objection.


The latest rise in exemptions is mainly due to an increase in medical exemptions. The reason isn't that Israelis are becoming sicker mentally or physically. The main engine behind the rapid rise in demand for health exemptions is the lack of motivation among the 18-24 years old.


The ethos of the "people army" cherished by their parents doesn't speak to generation Z. As the Israel economy grows, the opportunity cost of being drafted has increased, and naturally, more young people are trying to avoid the draft to start their productive life. Combat soldiers earn $451 per month a third of Israel's minimum wage and a sixth of the national average salary. Until recently, not serving in the army was almost "shameful" and frowned upon by potential employers and even mates. Today, as life normalized, this blemish is fading away, along with the motivation to be drafted.


As a libertarian, this lack of enthusiasm from the younger generation is a positive development. The IDF always relied heavily on a "free" workforce, if the free labor twinkles out, the army will be forced to take into account the real cost of labor and turn to a more professional model. Today, the IDF doesn't need all the recruits, occupied in menial jobs, that could be easily outsourced or replaced by machines at a fraction of the current cost. This saving can fund real market wages for the combat soldiers, the IDF needs.


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