The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) doesn’t often have to deal with draft evasion from average young Israelis. Most are eager to fulfill their mandatory service. Still, it does happen from time to time.
This week some 50 new recruits refused to vacate the absorption and sorting base (known in Hebrew as the Bakum) after being assigned to serve in the Armored Corps.
Such behavior would typically result in the Military Police being called in and the offenders being sent to an army jail. But IDF officials felt a different approach was needed.
Senior officers were summoned to deliver encouragement and motivation to the young recruits, to inspire them to take up their new roles in the Armored Corps. About 30 of the would-be draft dodgers were taken to the Negev region to experience a live tank fire drill.
In the end, most of the youngsters agreed to report for duty. The 10 or so who continued to refuse were detained in a holding center at the absorption base pending a hearing.
IDF officials said that while this particular incident received a lot of press coverage, the reality is that willingness to serve in the Armored Corps and other combat units has increased in comparison to previous years.