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IDF HR Chief: Although Half of Israel’s Youth Don’t Enlist, the Army Remains the Foundation of our Social Resilience

Head of IDF Human Resources Major General Orna Barbibay.

Head of IDF Human Resources Major General Orna Barbibay.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90

About half of recruitment-age Israeli youths do not enlist, said Head of IDF Human Resources, Major General Orna Barbibay on Wednesday. But despite this reluctance to serve, she argued that “the IDF is the only melting pot I know,” adding, “and even if the connection is partial, the Army still introduces different segments of the populations to each other, enabling them to perform the essential task of national security.”

However, she noted, the IDF’s role is primarily to ensure the security of Israeli citizens. “Of course, when we examine our national strength, we must realize that our social resilience is an inseparable part of it, and we understand that the army has a role in that as well,” she said.

Maj. Gen. Barbibay spoke on Wednesday at the Israeli national lottery forum on education in Holon, on the IDF’s efforts to educate its enlisted men and women and its tangential areas with the civilian educational system.

Barbibay described the different populations serving in the IDF, and noted that “the Army consists of diverse and often polarized populations, because it a reflection of society. Nevertheless, the motivation and desire to serve and reach command and combat positions are among the highest we have ever known.”

Apart from the IDF’s military duties, Barbibay described the processes of filling gaps in the education of recruits. “About 10-15 percent of enlistees get to complete their 12 years of education while in the military. Moreover, the entire “Makam” (Hebrew acronym for Center to Advance Special Populations) involves recruits who require support and care during their service”

Referring to Israel’s youth, Barbibay presented an optimistic position. “I firmly believe that we have quality youth, and that the education system helps our youth arrive in the army as an active and assertive population.”

According to the head of Military Human Resources, local municipalities and schools show a willingness to let the military into their classrooms.

“My impression is that there is a great desire to receive the army. After all, eventually the youth will reach recruitment age, and facilitating dialogue and discourse is good for them.”

Maj. Gen. Barbibay.Concluded, Zamir clarified that there is a shared responsibility between the IDF and the state education system regarding the future of Israel and Israeli society.

“We have a state to preserve and enormous operational challenges, more than at any other time. We need to ensure that our social and military resilience will continue to be maintained, and we need to continue to work together to ensure this.”

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