I can't argue statistics. I can't say which are accurate and which are not, or if this slight decrease means anything in real terms. I can only remember the determination and pride of the soldiers of Elie's division as they stood last week and celebrated their having finished eight long months of training. I need only think of my 18 year old nephew, who even now is also in a combat unit, having entered the army this past summer.
Sunday morning marked the beginning of the November army draft, and according to military sources, the number of inductees requesting to serve in combat units
has reached the lowest point in four years.
"Whoever closes his eyes to this now will wake up in a few years-time to even lower
levels of motivation," said one senior officer.
The draft that began this morning will continue for a few weeks. Thousands of soldiers will join the ranks of the infantry, armored, engineering, artillery, and field intelligence corps. The IDF utilizes detailed reports to analyze the percentage of those inductees with a combat profile (based on physical and mental tests) who request combat duty.
Statistics from the current draft indicate a trend-reversal: 67% of those with a combat profile expressed the desire to serve in the aforementioned units, in contrast to 69% in 2004-2005 and the record high 70.8% after last summer's war in Lebanon....
"We cannot ignore this; otherwise we will find ourselves with more draft-dodgers than inductees, especially in combat duty, the most crucial type of service."
And, with pride and fear in my heart and the knowledge that my stint as a soldier's mother won't end when Elie finishes his service in just over two years, I think of my 17 year old son, who will enter the army in the next few years. Like Elie, he received the highest profile awarded to an Israeli soldier (97) and, like Elie, when asked if he would serve in a combat unit, answered that he would.
Fewer boys may be agreeing to enter combat units, but motivation is not down. Those that serve do so with pride and determination.