According to Brigadier General Gadi Agamon, the head of the IDF's Planning and Personnel Management Brigade, the army is facing a shortage of thousands of new recruits – a manpower gap that can be filled by enlisting soldiers from the ultra-Orthodox sector.
"The IDF sees excellent soldiers in army-age haredim," he said.
Agamon presented the data during a meeting held by the Tal Law Committee, which is charged with finding an alternative to a legislation that exempts the ultra-Orthodox sector from army service.
As per the data, there are currently some 7,500 18-year-old haredim who could potentially be drafted. But only 1,282 members of the sector enlisted in 2011. Last year's recruits came from a wider age group – 18-26.
Low civil service enlistment
The director-general of the National-Civil Service Administration, Sar-Shalom Jerbi, said during Monday's session that a total of 1,806 haredim and 2,399 members of ethnic minority sectors signed up for civilian service since 2007. Moreover, over the past year only 74 people volunteered for civilian security programs, which include the Israel Prison Service, the police and the fire department.
"A solution that the committee must find should address the financial, professional and legal obstacles that impede the integration of haredim in the army and the job market," the head of the Tal Law Committee, MK Yohanan Plesner, said during the session.
The commission is to convene on Thursday for a public hearing, which will allow 16 representatives of civil society organizations to propose initiatives that promote the equal shouldering of civic duties.
The Coalition is tasked with finding an alternative to the Tal Law by the end of July, when the disputed legislation is set to expire.