For the third year in a row, the youth of the town of Efrat in Judea and Samaria are at the very top of the IDF annual enlistment statistics, which also show that this town provides the highest share of officers per capita in the country. And so, according to Makor Rishon, this year, as in previous ones, the head of the local municipality Oded Ravivi was invited to participate last Wednesday—along with the rest of the heads of municipalities that are leaders in terms of their military recruits—in the annual ceremony conducted by HR Chief Maj.-General Orna Barbivai.
But, this year, Mayor Ravivi opted not to come to the ceremony: in his view, the current stats are a terrible injustice to young National Religious people who are serving their country.
“The IDF stats only include those who enlisted in the army. In Efrat the girls are also enlisting, but because most of our population is National Religious, most of our girls do National Service.”
Ravivi was enraged, saying, “It’s unacceptable that we’re the leaders in all the most important statistics, yet, in the end, we find ourselves in the 60th percentile because our young women prefer national service over the army. If the IDF does not appreciate our high number of officers and combatants, I prefer to stay away from this get together.”
Young Israelis of both sexes are able to choose, according to the law, between military service and national service—the latter including teaching in needy areas, work in hospitals and in EMT units.
According to the IDF HR enlistment statistics for 2012, 22.2 of Efrat’s recruits go on to make officers, while 80.4 of the town’s men serve as combat soldiers. About a quarter of the local girls also opt for military service, and out of those, 24% continue to officer school.
“We work hard to encourage doing a significant IDF service,” Ravivi told Makor Rishon. “Our youth are raised in an environment that stresses contributing to the nation. We offer pre-enlistment prep programs, so our young people learn how to arrive at those places.”