Saturday, August 04, 2007

Israel's Crisis is Your Problem

Although common wisdom is that Israel faces threats everywhere, it appears that 24% of the current population will receive exemptions from the draft.

The figures are contained in reports issued in July by two Israeli government agencies. One, released by the army’s manpower division, simply states the proportions of conscripts and exemptees. According to the report, just under 24% of all 18-year-olds will be exempted from the draft this coming fall. Of those, 11% — close to half — will be excused because of Torah studies. The rest will be divided roughly evenly among Israelis living abroad, those with criminal records, medical deferments and those found “psychologically unfit” — by health or inclination — for military service.

So, even though we are engaged in a "Global War on Terror" and Iran is threatening to "wipe Israel of the Map" (which is a mis-quote), Israel sees no problem excepting 24% of is population from the draft, with 11% granted the highly optional "Torah studies" exemption.

And this exemption is expected to grow.

The demographic trend is demonstrated plainly in another report, prepared by the statistics bureau for the Ministry of Education. The report shows enrollment figures in Israel’s three separate Jewish school systems, the state-secular, state-religious (Modern Orthodox) and Haredi streams. In the 15 years from 1992 to 2007, the proportion of Jewish children attending state-secular elementary schools dropped to 55% of the total from 67%; in 2012 it is projected to fall to 51%. The percentage attending Haredi schools, meanwhile, went from 12.4% in 1992 to 26.7% in 2007 and a projected 31% in 2012. Modern Orthodox schools (whose graduates do perform military service) remain steady throughout at roughly 18%.

At some point in the late 2020s, if current trends continue, the percentage of Israeli Jews claiming army exemption due to Torah study will pass the 30% mark and continue climbing.

Bottom line: You are a sucker if you still want to spend money and/or lives on this Global War on Terror. The Israeli's don't take it seriously because they think America will pay the tab (both in lives and money), and maybe they are right.

The Forward


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