Each cycle is measured in comparison to the corresponding cycle in the previous year, and not in comparison to the cycle directly before it, and thus, it can be determined that there has been a gradual but constant lessening in combat motivation over the last three enlistment cycles, over the last year.
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However, the IDF does not appear to be concerned. It noted that in the last seven years, there were larger fluctuations in combat motivation of recruitment candidates. The IDF also mentioned that there exists a standard error of 4%.
According to the IDF Personnel Directorate, 70.3% of the youth in the August 2013 induction who are designated for combat service requested to serve in combat units, while 29.7% of those to be recruited into combat units in the coming month, did not want to serve in those units. In last year’s corresponding induction cycle, the motivation to serve in combat was 72%.
In the previous enlistment cycle which took place in March of this year, the rate of motivation to enlist in combat units was 71.6%. This is nearly one percent more than the year before, when in March 2012, the rate stood at 72.4%.
Usually wartime sees a significant increase in the motivation of soldiers to serve in combat units. Surprisingly in the November 2012 enlistment, at the height of Operation Pillar of Defense, there was almost no rise in motivation for combat, which stood at 73%. In comparison, a year earlier, the rate stood at 76.2% motivation.
IDF: 4% standard error rate
The IDF explained the statistics by saying, “We are referring to a small change which still falls under the range defined by the General Staff for motivation for combat service, which ranges from 70% to 76% motivation to join a combat unit.” And there have been larger fluctuations in the past.
For example, in November 2008, the rate of combat motivation was only 68%, while two years later it reached 78%.
The army also argued that changes in the composition of the rear army units, including the establishment of Home Front Command brigades over the past two years, along with addition of Iron Dome batteries, has led many candidates requesting to serve in the new units. At the same time, the IDF said that the growing need for quality soldiers within the elite units of the IDF’s computer and intelligence units, added to the enlistment of soldiers with combat profiles into these units.
In regard to the lessening numbers in combat motivation, the IDF noted, “Statements which are too generalized regarding the decline in motivation to fight do not show the overall situation, which reflects an essentially high and stable level.”
The IDF also added that 92.6% of combat recruits were assigned to one of the top three preferences that they had listed on their pre-induction questionnaires; 42.2% requested to serve in infantry units. The IDF also emphasized that there has been a sharp rise in female and haredi enlistments in the past year.
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