IDF, Charedim, Judea and Samaria

Report: How the IDF wants to draft and use Charedim in the armed forces

Due to the need for more soldiers and to integrate Charedim into the army, Central Command Commander Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs has a new plan to use them to reinforce Judea and Samaria.

Nachal Charedi soldiers. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Many commanders serving in Gaza claim the IDF needs immediate reinforcements and new soldiers, due to the large number of dead and wounded from the fighting in the Gaza Strip over five months.

With the question of drafting of Charedi soldiers coming up over and over, the IDF is doing everything it can to make this a reality. As opposed to the pre-war days, the IDF can no longer rely on a slimmed-down order of battle to meet all the country’s defensive needs.

Yediot Acharonot military correspondent Yossi Yehoshua published a plan today (Sunday) proposed by Central Command Commander Yehudah Fuchs for defending settlements in Judea and Samaria by Charedim not presently serving. This will free up hundreds of enlisted soldiers and reservists for other missions. Over time, this arrangement could be extended to the Gaza Perimeter and the northern border.

According to the plan, a settlement defense authority will be established under the auspices of the Defense Ministry, which will be responsible for defense of towns and civilian areas. The authority will be largely manned by those who are eligible for the draft as an alternative to formal military service, effectively serving as national service for those who meet the requirements.

Reinforcement for security response teams

The plan is based on the understanding that settlement defense cannot be in the same format as before, and that extensive reserve service defending settlements would be very expensive and ineffective. Presently, settlement defense is based on a paid military security coordinator, with some settlements also having a paid guard or volunteer soldiers from various units.

According to the proposal, the defense standard established for a settlement needs to be high, providing both actual security and a sense of security, and be a fixed civilian factor which does not vary from unit to unit, and as such needs to be based on routine and a real familiarity with local residents. The force does not need to be based on the locals, but it does need to reach the settlement in two or three shifts a day based on an organized transportation arrangements.

The settlement security response team will serve as another layer of defense on top of the regular local volunteer force, based on current security response team arrangements.

15,000 Charedim to be drafted immediately

The document states that there are 200 settlements within IDF Central Command. Assuming that each settlement needs at least 20 authority members for defense – not including call centers, logistics, and associated administration – Central Command would need about 6,500-7,000 people. Assuming that Southern Command and Northern Command will double the national number combined, the total number needed is about 14,000-15,000.

Training, according to the plan, will be done at a college for settlement defense training. The college will operate on a civilian basis according to standards set by the IDF and the Defense Ministry, including rifle certification levels based on the IDF.

The authority’s command and control may be based either on former or even current IDF commanders, who will be loaned and given proper arrangements at the authority. As noted, the service will not count as military service but rather be under the Defense Ministry, and the drafted will not pass through IDF bases.

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