A new IDF program will attempt to increase the number of Bedouin recruits given the sector's low enlistment percentages and over growing pressure from the Islamic movement to not enlist.
According to IDF data, only about 400 Bedouin have enlisted in the IDF this year – less than 1% of the Bedouin population. Now the military wishes to increase its Bedouin recruits by 20% by opening a paramilitary course for the sector, improving Bedouin officer conditions and getting army reserves to address potential recruits at Israeli schools.
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The program, set to be approved soon, will also include a conference to be held once every two months for those designated to serve in the IDF. An oath-pledging ceremony and basic training are also expected to take place at the Bedouin Yad Labanim memorial, where 199 fallen soldiers from the Bedouin community are commemorated.
Bedouins train in IDF base (Photo: IDF Spokesman Unit)
The most significant part of the program will ensure that Bedouin officers serving in the IDF will be able to have a career of at least seven years. In addition, IDF bases in the south will adopt Bedouin communities, and young Bedouins who have not enlisted would be able to enlist for the reserves after they acquire a profession via the military.
In addition, the program will help the Bedouin veterans find jobs, purchase plots for future homes and subsidize the purchase of commercial land for future businesses.
In recent years the Islamic movement in Israel has repeatedly called on young Bedouins not to enlist, using posters, pamphlets and even offering financial support. In the past decade the number of Bedouins volunteering for the military service has dropped twice: Once after the October 2000 riots and again after the 2006 Lebanon War.
Today, less then 300,000 Bedouins serve in the IDF. "Some 60% of the Bedouins are under the age of 20, which shows great potential. This program will improve what's already there, so that more and more Bedouins serve in the IDF," the military explained.
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