Approximately 30% of young women who graduate from Religious-Zionist High Schools go on to join the IDF, according to a report in Makor Rishon. From the remainder, the majority do a year or two of National Service.
Among the general population, 42% of women don’t join the IDF.
For the IDF Manpower Division, 30% of the Religious-Zionist women simply just isn’t enough, and they are looking for ways to significantly increase that number.
The primary fears among Religious-Zionist women is that IDF service is incompatible with a religious life-style, alongside the longstanding stereotype that one of the primary missions of women in the IDF is to make coffee for the officers.
The IDF plans to take steps to make IDF service more attractive to incoming Religious-Zionist girls, including opening new IDF career paths, making sure their religious rights are guaranteed, ensuring prayer times, the option to wear skirts instead of pants, and trying to group Religious-Zionist recruits together, so they’ll feel more comfortable.
In addition, according to the plan, Religious-Zionist girls may be given the option to appear before a special religious committee to change units, and potentially, to even opt out of the army, if they find their current unit, or the IDF as a whole, to disparate and incompatible with their religious lifestyle.
The IDF wants to ensure that there will be Halachic oversight for Religious-Zionist women, and be able to handle any questions or problems that may arise for them.
The IDF is even making a point of letting Religious-Zionist girls know they’d be getting important jobs, and won’t end up making coffee for someone.
In 2011, 1,500 Religious-Zionist young women went to the IDF, in 2012 that number rose to 1,800.
A survey done by “Aluma” of Religious-Zionist women serving in the IDF found that 85% of them felt that the IDF service did not negatively affect their religiosity, and some even found their Judaism strengthened by their IDF service.
The IDF can do that for that you.Shalom Bear