Data shows significant increase in minority representation in IDF

20.2 percent of IDF (Zahal) soldiers are immigrants, according to data released by Education Corps

Date: 18/07/2011, 11:46 AM     Author: Tamara Ben Natan

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of minorities enlisting in the IDF (Zahal), according to data released by the IDF (Zahal) Education Corps.

According to the data, 20.2 percent of IDF (Zahal) soldiers are immigrants. A majority of the immigrant soldiers are veteran immigrants who arrived in Israel when they were younger than 16.

The enlistment rate among men of Ethiopian origin is 88.3 percent while the enlistment rate among men from the Caucasus region is 83 percent. Both percentages are higher than the overall enlistment rate of 72.6 percent.

The data also shows that there has been a significant increase in recent years in the number of ultra-Orthodox soldiers in the IDF (Zahal). There are 700 ultra-Orthodox soldiers currently serving in the IDF (Zahal).

The enlistment rate in the Druze sector is 83 percent. 60 percent of Druze enlistees serve in combat units.

The data also illustrates an increase in the number of Bedouin serving in the IDF (Zahal) (currently 492 compared to 345 in 2005).

Despite the language difficulties many minority soldiers face when they enlisted, a majority of these soldiers indicated that their integration into the army was positive experience that gave them meaningful exposure to the heritage, language and history of the country and the IDF (Zahal).