Artillery: July 24, 2004

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Israel is only able to draft 62 percent of its young men when they turn 18. The major reason for deferment is ethnicity. Arab-Israelis do not have to serve in the armed forces, and they currently make up 22 percent of the draft pool. Another 8.4 percent are Orthodox Jews who declare themselves religious students, and are thus deferred (for as long as they keep to their studies, which most do, at least until they are too old to be drafted.) Another six percent are not taken for medical reasons, 3.8 percent because of a criminal record and four percent because they are living outside Israel (but can be taken if they move back.) Many are exempt for several of these reasons. 

Jewish women are also eligible for the draft, but only 60 percent of them serve (for two years, versus three for the men). The largest source of deferments for the women is religious, as 30 percent declare that they are Orthodox (and thus incapable of serving because of religious restrictions.) Another 3.6 percent are not taken because they score too poorly on skill tests, another 3.8 percent because they live abroad, 2.1 percent for medical reasons and one percent because they are married. After their active duty, men go into the reserves for as much as 20 years (in most cases). Israels armed forces have 163,000 troops on active duty (about 107,000 are draftees). About 110,000 Israelis turn 18 each year. The reserves have about 350,000 troops. 

 


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