The number of female deserters has gone up dramatically over the last few years, the military police said Sunday.
According to IDF data, while in 2004 only 38 female soldiers deserted the service, in 2006 81 of them went AWOL and by September 2007 – 59.
Some 1,288 soldiers – man and women – were deemed deserters in 2004; 1,438 deserted in 2005 and 1,386 in 2006. Three months before the end of 2007, some 906 soldiers have been declared as deserters.
"It's hard to explain why more female soldier decided to desert the service…when we send officers after a female deserter, we always make sure they are accompanied by a female officer.
"We had cases where we found the women were pregnant – we made sure the get the necessary medical papers, and didn't arrest them of course… but in many cases their reasons don't differ much from those of the men," said a senior source in the military police.
"In any case, we have the same goal – to have those who can return to the service," he added.
The IDF Central Command began a mass operation several days ago, in an attempt to apprehend deserters. Some 127 arrests were made in four days, and 41 deserters turned themselves in voluntarily.
Impressive as the latest operation might have been, the IDF still has 1,873 deserters at large, many of whom have gone AWOL years ago and nearly half of them – some 799 – are considered to be living abroad.