Women in the ArmyMajor General Elazar Stern protested yesterday against girls who falsely claim to be religious to evade the military service.

According to enlistment rules, girls who identify themselves as religious are not required to join the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a service that is otherwise mandatory to every young men and women who have turned 18. However, Stern mentions that according to the IDF statistics about 30 percent of the young women who are fit for service declare themselves religious in order to avoid the two-year term. Stern states that the Israeli army needs the female soldiers as much as it needs the men.

Stern draws attention to a troubling trend within the Israeli youth. Young people avoid military service with various excuses, especially those who feel that the IDF policy not to enlist orthodox Jews or young religious women is unjust.

The general feeling is that the attitude of the young generation has changed – many young Israelis are turning indifferent or no longer believe in the ideology of serving one’s own country. More seriously, dodging the army has gradually become a socially acceptable norm.

According to Stern, one’s choice to avoid the military service says a lot about the person’s character. Stern urges employers to ask their candidates about their past experiences in the IDF. “Don’t they deserve to be asked about the two or more years they contributed to their nation? The universities take personality into consideration. Doesn’t the military service say anything about personality? Why can’t we ask about it?”, says Stern.

An important question that IDF seems to pose is what would be the point of enlisting people who have no desire in serving. Would it not turn out to be a disadvantage to the military institution if it is run by unmotivated people?

On a positive note, it is good to hear that the role of women is finally recognized by a major military figure, unless of course Stern means that women are needed to make coffee for their officers.

Picture is part of the article about Ashkan Sahishi of Women in the IDF