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Haredi IDF Battalion Marks 33% Increase in Recruits

Haredi Neztah Yehuda Battalion recruits complete the final stages of a 40 kilometer journey with stretchers through the night, Feb. 2010.

Haredi Neztah Yehuda Battalion recruits complete the final stages of a 40 kilometer journey with stretchers through the night, Feb. 2010.
Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90

Last Thursday the recruitment began at the “Netzach Yehuda” Haredi battalion of the Kfir Brigade, as more than 200 anxious ultra-Orthodox recruits arrived at the processing center. Last year, some 380 soldiers joined the regiment, and according to official data from the Department of Manpower, the current cycle will see an increase of 33% in the number of recruits.

The Manpower Dept. recruitment targets for Netzach Judah were 166 soldiers in the first quarter of 2012, and an overall target of 500 for the current year.

The Netzach Yehuda Battalion used to be part of the units of the Nahal Brigade, which stuck the reference to ultra-Orthodox soldiers in the Israeli vernacular as “Nahal Haredi.” This despite the fact that, as of 2002, the battalion has been moved to the jurisdiction of the Kfir Brigade, which in turn is subordinate to the 162nd Division of Israel’s Central Regional Command..

The infantry battalions is comprised of four companies.

Operating in the capacity of an infantry battalion in the Kfir Brigade, the Haredi soldiers have been engaged in numerous operations such as capturing wanted terrorists, preventing terror incidents, executing arrests in Judea and Samaria, and performing routine security tasks.

The battalion headquarters of Netzach Yehudah is located near the city of Jenin. Operations in the Jenin area focuse on performing tours, missions and ambushes. Training takes about seven months, and includes basic training, advanced training and placement in designated positions within the battalion. During training, soldiers learn to use various weapons, urban warfare, combat, and camouflage theory.

In 2011, Netzach Yehuda soldiers foiled a shooting attack in Samaria and killed an armed terrorist near the settlement of Mevo Dotan. The incident investigation showed that the soldiers performed properly. Battalion commander Lieutenant Amichai Segal described that incident: “The soldiers ordered the Palestinian to stop, but he kept shouting ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and he did not stop. The soldiers fired one round into the air, and the terrorist began shooting at them. Exercising judgment, the soldiers shot and killed him.”

The service track in the battalion includes two years of military service, followed by an aptitude diagnosis and year of vocational courses financed by the army. These allow discharged recruits to acquire a profession. The Netzach Yehuda service track uniquely combines military service and the unique religious lifestyle of the soldiers. A spiritual environment is conferred by a team of rabbis and educators and includes Torah studies, strict kosher standards, prayer sessions and seminars on religious topics.

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