Rise in volunteer female Orthodox soldiers

Thursday, February 15, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

While only one-fifth of Israeli Orthodox females enlist in the army, those who do opt for officer courses more than secular girls.

The Knesset's research center commissioned the report ahead of a conference with the Knesset's Educational Committee, which is to focus on religious girls enlisting in the Israeli army.

A survey found that those volunteering were at 7.5 percent as opposed to the 6.9 percent of secular females.

In 2005, 1,581 religious girls enlisted into the military; this figure represents 21.5 percent of the year's religious high school graduates. The report revealed that during the last decade, more religious girls preferred to enlist. The results are in spite of the fact that the Religious Education Administration opposes enlistment and does not permit military representatives to prepare the students.

“I am not taking a moral stand on the question of whether girls should enlist into the IDF, but a girl who is interested in serving in the military must be able to receive maximum aid and support from the educational institution, both morally and pragmatically,” said Michael Melchior, chairman of the Knesset’s Education Committee.

“The army is interested in enlisting religious recruits because they are high achievers, and has therefore opened a versatile range of courses for them.”

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