A study checking IAF pilots' and officers' motivation to remain in uniform revealed that there has been a sharp drop in their motivation to remain in service as career soldiers once they have completed the initial period they had committed to.
Yedioth Ahronoth has discovered that only 45 percent of the survey's participants stated that they would sign on for an extra period, making the majority of pilots preferring to transfer to the civilian market. In previous years, 60 percent were willing to continue with the army.
The Air Force Command has said that the reason for the motivational decline is the many temptations available to pilots especially in the high-tech field, and the worsening of terms and benefits in the military.
High ranking officials in the IAF said that there is no longer competition over positions in the command like there used to be. As a result, they are compelled to compromise and they do not always appoint the best man for the job.
"High-tech companies are enticing the officers any way they can. They offer wages that are twice as high as their army salary and very attractive benefits," an officer said.
A representative of a high-tech company once stood outside an IAF base with a leased luxury car to persuade a high ranking officer to leave the army and join his company. He was eventually tempted.
"With all due respect to Zionism, the civilian jobs are much more tempting," said an IAF pilot.
Another soldier said: "There is plenty we can do out there. The market is full of opportunities that are hard to resist. Add to that the lack of appreciation from the public, and you can understand why pilots prefer flying for El-Al and not IAF."
This trend is occurring all over the military. Officers have said that low wages, no advancement opportunities, and reduced public esteem push them to leave the service.
A high ranking officer at the Human Resources Directorate said that the interest of the Israeli society is to have a "good army with the best officers possible".
"We are heading towards a crisis. The best people are leaving. More than ever, the IDF needs an excellent staff," he said.