IDF scandal: Army inflated number of ultra-Orthodox recruits for years

The IDF reported false recruitment numbers to appear to meet goals.

By World Israel News Staff

The IDF has been falsifying the number of ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, recruits for years in order to appear to be keeping up with its recruitment goals, reported Kan military reporter Carmela Menashe on Wednesday.

The numbers were reported to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by the Army, Menashe reports. The false numbers inflated the number of recruits by tens of percent, she says.

She tweeted early Wednesday: “Exposed – The IDF forged knowingly, increased by tens of percent and presented a false representation for years of the number of  ultra-Orthodox soldiers who enlisted in the IDF. They lied to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the defense minister, the chief medical officer and the public to meet the recruitment goals. For years, they have doubled and even tripled the number of ultra-Orthodox soldiers recruited to the IDF.”

According to her report, the IDF doubled and in some cases tripled the number of actual recruits.

In 2017, the IDF reported that 3,070 haredi soldiers had enlisted when, in reality, only 1,300 had joined up. In 2011, the Army reported on 1,200 haredi recruits when there were only 600.

The IDF issued a statement in response to the report: “The IDF recently discovered a mistake in counting the number of haredi soldiers in recent years. Upon discovering the mistake, lessons were learned regarding the counting criteria and strict oversight on the body entrusted with counting haredi soldiers within the IDF. It should also be noted that the figures for the 2018 recruitment year (ending June 2019) have not yet been compiled.”

The recruitment of haredi soldiers has been a bone of contention in Israel, which has universal conscription. The haredim have largely avoided conscription, however, due to a law which exempts those who study in Yeshivot, or Jewish seminaries. This has led to a high degree of antagonism toward the haredim among non-haredi Israelis who do serve.

Efforts to resolve the issue, including a 2014 law, ran into obstacles, and the problem of haredi conscription still festers.