Enlisting Haredim

How many Haredim have enlisted: a tweet battle between the CEO and the reporter

Following the report by a correspondent for the Haredi Affairs in Galei Tzahal about a sharp decline in the number of Haredim enlisting in the IDF, Yossi Levi, CEO of the Netzah Yehuda Organization, responded that the report is inaccurate. He stated that 330 Haredim have enlisted in the past two weeks, and Galei Tzahal is behind the publication

An ultra-Orthodox soldier in combat service (Photo: Yaakov Naomi/Flash90)

"The debate over the numbers. Yesterday (Monday), Yoeli Brim, a correspondent for Haredi Affairs at Galei Tzahal, reported a sharp decline in the number of Haredi individuals enlisting in the IDF. According to the report, only about half of the planned Haredi recruits actually enlisted. Another report stated that out of 164 recruits, approximately 30% of them are from the Religious Zionist sector, brought in to fill the required operational forces due to the shortage.

Yossi Levi, the CEO of the Netzah Yehuda Association, an organization established by Haredi rabbis in collaboration with the security-social wing of the Ministry of Defense and the IDF, strongly criticized the report and the writer. In a tweet he posted on Twitter, he wrote: "How can a respected and prestigious organization like Galei Tzahal allow itself to fall into absolute ignorance regarding Haredi enlistment figures and interfere with our ongoing efforts to integrate Haredim into the IDF? For those who didn't understand, the last recruitment in Netzah Yehuda is one of the best in the past two years. Yoeli, my friend, I clarified to you that you are mistaken, and yet you went ahead and published this."

Yossi Levi, the CEO of the Netzah Yehuda Association (No credit)

330 Haredi soldiers in the last two weeks

Levi added the numbers he has in his possession, according to which, Netzah Yehuda recruited over 100 fighters in the first stage, all of them ultra-Orthodox. The religious Zionism, which is mentioned to be 30% of the total recruits, is not included in this data at all. Levi further stated that the recruitment goals are only set by the government and were canceled five years ago, contradicting Brim's claim that the last recruitment did not meet the targets.

Another point Levi mentioned is, "In the past two weeks, over 330 Haredi individuals enlisted for combat and combat support roles, with the majority being fighters. Are they Haredi? Absolutely. Each recruit was screened and approved before integration. There is absolutely no reason to publicize this erroneous information that reached half a million people and caused absolute injustice to those involved in the national mission. It's unnecessary."

Haredim in the IDF (Photo: Yaakov Naomi/Flash90)

"There is a lot to improve in the recruitment of Haredi individuals, and the Israeli government does not invest at all in this matter. However, the attempt in every recruitment to depict the hard work of the people in the field as black and create a false presentation is not legitimate, and the motivations behind it are unclear."

Brim: The publication is accurate; there is a significant decrease in the recruitment of Haredi individuals

In response to the question about the numbers, Brim insisted, "There has been a significant decrease in the recruitment of ultra-Orthodox individuals to the IDF compared to a decade ago, and even within the IDF, they have acknowledged this in inquiries and in the Knesset. In 2021, only about 1,200 ultra-Orthodox individuals enlisted, while the natural and rapid growth of the ultra-Orthodox population was supposed to double the number of recruits."

Galei Tzahal stands behind the publication (Photo: Kobi Gideon/Government Press Office)

Regarding Levi's allegations, he said, "My publication refers to the recruitment that took place last Thursday, where it was planned to enlist 240 Haredi individuals. While there may not be an official government quota, there are certainly internal targets set by the Haredi Administration within the IDF, which I have exposed. The Haredi Administration is a massive organization with almost 100 employees, all dedicated to recruiting Haredi individuals. Therefore, these are targets that cannot be ignored, as it is a respected organization. They had planned to recruit 240 soldiers numerically but managed to enlist only 164, among them dozens from the religious Zionist community.

"A decade ago, the Netzah Yehuda Brigade had a force of approximately 750 soldiers. Today, it stands at only around 300 soldiers, and even this number paints a partial picture. To supplement the brigade's ranks, students from religious Zionist yeshivas are brought in, and currently, approximately half of the brigade's soldiers come from the religious Zionist community. About three months ago, the head of the Planning Division in the IDF told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that hundreds of Haredi recruits are essentially not religious anymore."

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