Since July 2007 some 370 indictments have been filed against Israeli youngsters who have evaded military service, as opposed to only a few dozen indictments filed a year earlier.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Morris Hirsch, special military advocate for absentees and deserters, the hike is due mainly to increased cooperation between the IDF and Israel Police.
A year ago Ynet revealed a plan initiated by Brigadier-General Avi Zamir, who was recently appointed chief of IDF personnel, aimed at apprehending as many draft-dodgers as possible by disclosing to Israel Police information on deserters and youngsters who have evaded army service for over a year in the hope that any routine driver's license check would lead to their arrest.
Now it appears that the plan is bearing fruit. "There is a significant rise in the number of draft-dodgers who are being arrested and in the number of indictments filed against them," Hirsch said, "a draft-dodger who is apprehended by police is immediately transferred to IDF custody."
The senior army officer said the military courts are handing down harsher sentences to deter draft-dodgers. Last week a military judge sentenced a 25-year-old draft-dodger to nine months in prison, the maximum penalty allowed for such an offense.
The Military Advocate General's Office is currently establishing a body that will deal with draft-dodgers so that, according to Hirsch, "we will be able to put them on trial in a speedy and effective manner".