Pp army english (1)

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Professional Army in Israel

Boaz Arad

The Israeli army long ago ceased being a citizens' army. The pretense of it still being so hurts military preparedness and causes a loss of NIS 9 billion annually to the Israeli economy. It also increases tensions between different sectors of the Israeli population. According to statistics published by JIMS, approximately 23% of draft age individuals do not serve at all. 40% of draft-age women are exempted. Another 18% of those drafted do not complete their service. Only 20% of the males who serve, do so in combat roles. 20% serve in administrative roles. About 10 different programs are used to allow terms of service to be shortened; when all is considered, less than a third of each year's draftees completes a full term of service.


JIMS Position Paper, PP10112010

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Pp army english (1)

  1. 1. Israel Needs a Professional Army Boaz Arad 11­2010Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies WWW.JIMS­ISRAEL.ORG
  2. 2. A Professional Army for IsraelOver the years, the model of the "peoples army" has been a pillar of the Israelinational ethos. Yet in the face of the growing skill and expertise needed to meetIsraels defense needs, it has become an impediment. The Second Lebanon War in2006 provided evidence of a deficiency, as noted in the Winograd report: "The armyas a whole, failed in meeting its challenge fighting the war in Lebanon and did notprovide the military base for the country to achieve its political aims" in addition toother challenges.1This situation deprives the citizens of Israel of security forces able to ensure theirsurvival and prosperity. It also entails a violation of individual rights in the form ofcompulsory military service that is without parallel in the Western world.The belief that a conscription-based army is essential and irreplaceable is a widelyheld and deeply rooted convention within both the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) andthe public. So deeply rooted is this ethos that it is taken as accepted wisdom bymilitary intelligentsia, who, like Gen. Gershon Hacohen, commander of IDFscolleges, hold that this assumption required no empirical verification. We can determine, even without comprehensive empirical analysis, that there are not enough talented and high quality Israeli youth who would opt for military service as a way of life for the number of years it would take to develop sufficient expertise ….the State of Israel has no viable option other than that of a peoples army.2However, as this paper will show, empirical evidence does exist which indicates thatthe "peoples army" concept is not an actual reality. Moreover, attempts to implementthe concept come at the expense of Israels society and economy on the one hand, aswell as at the expense of the armys professional efficiency. A small minority ofcitizens carries the professional burden of core military operations and maintenance1 Winograd Commission Report, Chapter 17, section 40, page 545, http://tinurl.com.4300laf2 Gen. Gershon Hacohen, Commander of IDF military academies, "Does Israel Still Need a PeoplesArmy?" Shirion, vol. 32, May 2009, http://www.yadlashirion.com.vf.ib_items/1199/32.pdf .
  3. 3. 2and in the reserve forces; the burden of compulsory conscription leads to a loss of NIS9 billion each year.This paper seeks to present the gap between the myth of the "peoples army" and thereality of its hidden costs as opposed to the alternative of a volunteer-basedprofessional army. A professional army, more befitting a free and democratic society,would provide the optimal professional solution for meeting Israels security needs.The IDFs Personnel StructureThe Israel Defense Forces consists of three components: conscripts performing theircompulsory service, the permanent army forces and the reserves. The compulsoryforces are composed of Jewish Israelis inducted at the age of 18 for a period of 36months for men (which includes a six month extension under the 30 month law) and24 months for women. Some who are not required to serve choose to volunteer –Christians, Druze, Moslems and others. The permanent army consists of those whoserve in specific units and the professionals who, together, comprise the armysoperational and administrative backbone. Finally, army reservists provide a centralresource in the event of emergencies. The law legislates that reservists may be calledto serve 54 days each year, and up to 70 or 84 days for officers or those who fillspecific roles based on security needs. The law applies to discharged soldiers untilthey reach the ages of between 40 and 49.3The scope of compulsory military service in Israel is the longest of militaryconscriptions anywhere in the world and its compulsory conscription of women iswithout parallel. Based on 2006 figures, an estimated 61,000 men and 58,000 womenreach conscription age each year – for a total of 1,490,000 males between the ages of16 and 49 fit for compulsory and reserve duty.4 Figures from the InternationalInstitute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimate 176,000 in compulsory service and445,000 in reserves, for a total of 621,500, as shown in Table 1 below:3 Reserve Duty Law, 5768, 2008, http://www.nesset.gov.il/Laws/Data/law/2152/2152.pdf .4 Central Intelligence Agency, World Fact Book, Israel, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/is/html .
  4. 4. 3 Table 1: IDF Personnel according to IISS figures 2010Forces Compulsory Reserves TotalGround 133,000 380,000 513,000Air 34,000 55,000 89,000Navy 9,500 10,000 19,500Total 621,000Border Police 7,650 7,650Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies, Sept. 2010http://.inss.org.il/upload/(FILE)1284986151.pdfCompulsory Service: The Real NumbersOnly around 2% of males serve in combat units during their compulsory service.Another 20% fill administrative roles, most of them in major military bases far fromthe front.5 Of all those intended for compulsory service, 23% are not drafted in thefirst place and over 40% of eligible females receive exemptions from military duty,most on the basis that military service would violate their religious practice.6Conscription figures from the Chief of Staffs Office of 2002-2005 show thedistribution between male and female conscripts as 59% to 41%. Of these,approximately 98% are Jewish, the balance Druze, Circasian, Christians andminorities. Those not conscripted comprise 22-23% in 2001-2003 for males and 38.4-39.8% for females, as shown in Table 2.75 Alex Fishman, "The IDFs About Face: The Security Agenda on the Way to the Ballot Box," StrategicUpdate, vol. 8, no. 4, January 2006, http://www.inss.org.il/upload/(FILE)11953650003.pdf.6 The Knessets Research and Information Center quotes Prof. Cohens reference to two databasescovering the 1980s and 1990s: 1. data provided by the IDF for the "Army-Society Project" organizedby the Israel Democracy Institute, 2002; 2. data from the State Comptrollers Report, no. 53.7 Erez Cohen, Office of the Chief of Staff, Supreme Command, April 22, 2007, cited by MosheBaradeh, "Findings on Service in the IDF over the Years," Center for Research and Information, theKnesset, September, 2007, http://knesset.gov.il/mmm/data/docs/m01870.doc .
  5. 5. 4 Table 2: Non-Conscripts based on year of birthYear of Sex Reason for exemption – percentages Total exempted Conscription physical Mental Not in Religious deceased Criminal Married Misc. rate limitation health Israel lifestyle record ‫ספ גיוס‬1983 Male 2.8 1.4 4.9 4.1 7.3 0.0 1.4 0.0 0.1 22% Female 3.9 0.8 1.1 3.6 27.5 0.0 0.0 1.3 0.0 38.4%1984 Male 2.5 1.4 5.1 4.2 7.6 0.0 1.4 0.0 0.1 22.3% Female 4.1 0.9 1.2 3.6 28.5 0.0 0.0 1.3 0.0 39.5%1985 Male 2.5 1.5 5.2 4.0 7.8 0.1 1.7 0.0 0.1 23% Female 3.7 0.9 1.4 3.7 28.9 0.1 0.0 1.1 0.0 39.8% These figures receive wide coverage in the media but do not tell the full story due to the fact that they reflect percentages at the date of induction. In fact, the rate of conscripts who complete their full term of service is far lower. These data, based on IDF sources8 and presented to the Ben-Bassat Commission, show that in addition to the 23% of males who are not conscripted in the first place, another 18% drop out during the course of their service. Findings from the Commission for Civilian Service in 2005 and adopted by the Governments Ivry Commission in 2007 indicate that this is a growing trend. The Ivry Commission reported that some 21,500 of every annual cohort of conscripts are granted exemptions, 5,000 of whom are male and 16,500 female. The Commission also reported that some 8,900 depart the army during their first year of service, 7,000 of them male, the vast proportion of whom due to personal problems and objective difficulties as well as difficulties in adjustment to a military framework or insufficient motivation.9 Based on figures from the Office of the IDF Chief of Staff, only 59% of men are in fact inducted to compulsory service. According to the Sheffer Commission, one out 8 Commission Examining the Issue of Shortening Compulsory IDF Service, Report, 2006, p. 20 http://www.gov.il/pages/general/dochVaada.pdf . 9 Commission for the Security Budget Report, May 2007, p. 47, htpp://www.nsc.gov.il/NSCWeb/Docs/Brodet.pdf .
  6. 6. 5of five will not complete the service to which he was drafted. In addition, due toconditions which permit a shorter period of service (yeshiva students and newimmigrants are two among ten existing categories) as well as "administrativedischarges" for those whose service the army does not require, most of the 59% whoare inducted do not complete the full 36 month service required by law. From this welearn that contrary to the ethos of "the peoples army," in practice, less than a third ofthe men in each draft cohort bear the full burden of compulsory service, and that iswithout taking into account the fact that only a minority of conscripts fulfill corefunctions within the fighting force.In addition, some four percent fulfill their duties in the reserves, which can exceed 26days a year. The issue of reserve duty will be addressed at greater length below.The Cost of Compulsory ServiceThe Ben-Bassat Commissions report shows that the total cost of a soldier to the armyduring his compulsory service comes to a monthly average of NIS 1,580 (pocketmoney, food, medical expenses, payments upon discharge and so on). In sharpcontrast, the Commission pointed to the loss of this same soldiers potentialcontribution to the economy of an estimated NIS 3,630 per month.This situation challenges the image and ideal of those who see the army as a sourcetechnological development and advancement. In using soldiers to fill functions whichare non-essential and unnecessary, compulsory service creates a situation wherebythis supposedly cheap source of labor takes preference over advanced technology andequipment. The result is a surplus of manpower, a waste of human resources andwide-scale hidden unemployment within the IDF system.In attempting to quantify the value of each inductees period of service in the army,the Ben-Bassat Commission calculated the estimated salary which a soldier wouldearn within the civilian marketplace. Calculations were made on the basis of youthaged 18 to 24 who had completed 12 years of education and included all aspects oftheir earnings, such as taxes deducted at source or pension funds. The result was amonthly wage of NIS 5,173, which is lower that the average Israeli salary.
  7. 7. 6If one were to take factors such as the costs of interrupting ones career into account,or postponing education, accumulating work seniority, not to mention thecompensation which a soldier would earn for the "overtime" he puts in during thearmy, the real cost of these 176,500 draftees is an annual NIS 90 million.The Brodet Commissions estimate of the cumulative annual loss includes the loss ofpotential production of some NIS 11 billion, which represents 1.7% of the GDP,based on 2006 figures.10 These figures also reflect the findings of a publiccommission led by Dr. Leora Meridor in the mid 1990s, according to which theestimated loss of productivity to the market as a whole during that period equates to1.7% of productivity. Based on these findings, the Ministry of Finance estimated lossof productivity in 2009 at some NIS 9 billion.11Reserve DutyReserve duty brings the gap between the myth of the "peoples army" and reality inparticularly sharp relief. In addition to the burden it places on the marketplace,reserve duty endangers Israels security by calling unskilled and insufficiently trainedcitizens to perform work for which they are inadequately prepared. This makes theState unable to achieve the strategic goals defined by its leaders or to provide theprotection and deterrence necessary to ensure its existence.The model for reserve duty was designed in the early days of the State of Israel inorder to make forces available in case of enemy attack. It has not been revised sincethen, despite changes in the scope and nature of threats to Israels security. Thesechanges include "low-grade war," terror and guerilla warfare, technologicaldevelopments, changes in ideologies and the concentration of attacks to the homefront, as well as a shifting sense of security and unity among the civilian population.10 Commission for the Security Budget Report, May 2007, p. 47,htpp://www.nsc.gov.il/NSCWeb/Docs/Brodet.pdf.11 Ministry of Finance, 2009-2010 Budget Highlights, p. 89.
  8. 8. 7According to foreign publications, reserve duty forces in 2010 numbered 445,00012and in 2000, the number was estimated at 425,000. IDF sources show only 200,000reservists in 2000, serving up to three days, in activities that were not connected toeither training exercises or to combat duty.13In that same year, only some 100,000 served upwards of four days of reserve duty, or12% of the total population of male Jews between the ages of 21 and 45. Out of1,085,000 men in this age range, only 35,000 served 26 days or more of reserve dutyin the year 2000. This represents 4% of the male Jewish population, which includesthose who serve between 50 and 70 days (mostly commanders).14 These figures comeas no surprise to professionals who examined the issue of reserve military duty.According to Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amatzia Hen, compulsory service is meant to providethe training for reserve duty, yet, as stated earlier, less than 4% of reservists maintainadequate fitness and fulfill their entire reserve duty.15 Those 32,000 who serve 26days or more of reserve duty comprise 0.95% of the general population,16 a figurewhich underscores the gap between the egalitarian image of the "peoples army" andreality when it comes to reserve duty.The Permanent ArmyMembers of the permanent army generally serve until their retirement at the relativelyyoung average age of 46. This short period of work within the army and their earlyretirement place a heavy burden on the marketplace. IDF pensions rose from NIS 1.5billion in the early 1990s to over NIS 4 billion in 2008 and are projected to exceedNIS 5 billion before long. This represents an annual growth of some NIS 200 million,as shown in Figure 1.12 International Institute for Strategic Studies, September 2010,http://www.inss.org.il/upload(FILE)1284986151.pdf.13 Nevo Baruch and Yael Shor, "An Army of All Its People?" Israel Democracy Institute, 2002, p. 12http://www.idi.org.il/PublicationsCatalog/Pages?BOOK_7024/Publications_Catalog_7024.aspx.14 Ibid.15 Telephone conversation with Amatzia Hen, September 22, 2010. In 1986, Brig. Gen Hen wasappointed to prepare a plan to reform the reserve duty system by the Office of the Chief of Staff. Theprogram was prepared during that year under the supervision of then Deputy Chief of Staff EhudBarak, with representatives of all branches of the IDF, and was presented to Chief of Staff DanShomron but never implemented.16 The population of men and women aged 20 – 64 in 2000 numbered 3,375.9 thousand. CentralBureau of Statistics, Summary Chart A, Base Population of 2000,http://www.cbs.gov.il/publications/popul2005/pdf/tab_.pdf .
  9. 9. 8 Figure 1: Projected pension budget for the permanent army (In millions of NIS at 2010 values)Source: Ministry of Finance, Proposed State Budget for F/Y 2009-2010,http://www.mof.gov.il/BudgetSite/StateBudget?Budget2009/Lists/2009/Attachments/1/ikarey2010.pdfThe Brodet Commission noted that IDF pension payments accounted for 9% of thedefense budget in 2006, and that the actuarial commitment to defense forces retireesby the end of 2006 was NIS 160 billion in budgeted pension, yet without specificfinancial allocations for this purpose.17 Future pension costs are not reflected in thearmys operating budget, which enables these true costs to be overlooked.The Brodet Commission found that the permanent army system requires both anoverall administrative upgrade and reduction in personnel by means such as raisingthe rate of retirement. The Commission recommended reducing permanent army staffby 10% between 2008 and 2012 and by another 7.5% in the five years to follow.The Security BudgetThe Ministry of Defense budget for 2010 is 53.2 billion shekels, which comprises15.6% of the total State budget product.18 The Defense budget includes: equipmentand operational expenses (salaries, food, maintenance), pension and payments tobereaved families, costs covering rehabilitation, which are carried by the Ministry,17 Commission examining the Security Budget, Report.18 Ministry of Finance, Budget Highlights 2009-2010, p. 77.
  10. 10. 9such as covering rehabilitation or to bereaved families, and expenses related to the notdirectly related to military operations, such as the security barrier. Figure 2 – Security consumption in relation to GDP (1960 – 2009) Percentage of local security consumption in relation to GDP Percentage of security consumption in relation to GDPSource: Shmuel Even, Israels defense Expenses, Data and Significance, Strategic Update,January 2010, www.inss.org.il/upload/(FILE)/1266831113.pdfThe defense budget is the largest of all government ministries. It is modest comparedto that of the 1980s, which brought Israels economy to the brink of collapse, but isconsiderably higher than defense budgets typical of OECD countries, which aregenerally 2.5% of the GDP.19 United States assistance, which is incorporated into thisbudget, amounted to some $2.7 billion in 2010, or approximately 20% of it. (Thebudget includes income from the sale of equipment and from the vacating of IDFbases, which came to NIS 2.4 billion in F/Y 2010. At the same time, this stateaccounting does not include the Mossad or Shabak, the General Security Services).The Ben-Bassat CommissionThe Ben-Bassat Commission, charged with examining the question of a reduction inthe period of compulsory military service, was appointed by Minister of DefenseShaul Mofaz on July 11, 2005 and submitted its findings on January 31, 2006.19 The World Bank, Military Expenditure (% of GDP), World Development Indicators 2009,http://tinyurl/com/389q25x.
  11. 11. 10Despite the fact that it operated under assumptions of favoring the model of the"peoples army" model, the Commission recognized that "the scope of personnel incompulsory service exceeds actual requirements, considering the military technologywhich is available and ongoing security operations." 20The Commission noted the heavy burden posed by a lengthy compulsory service andthe option of replacing it with an alternate source of military personnel or throughtechnological innovations, outsourcing services and permanent army. It examined theeconomic burden which the compulsory draft places on the economy, social tensionwhich can result from prolonged compulsory service, motivation to serve in the army,global trends in the armies of other Western countries, as well as qualitative indices interms of the freedoms of young Israeli citizens which are not given to quantification.The Ben-Bassat Commission noted a universal trend of decreasing the length ofcompulsory service in Western countries or eliminating the draft entirely. This trendstems largely from social and ideological factors, on personal liberty claiming ahigher priority and on a declining support for the use of armed force.Technological innovations change the nature of threats and military objectives when amilitary outcome is determined less by the quantity of soldiers than by their level ofprofessional skill and the defensive tools at their disposal. The Commission statedthat economics form a central factor in this trend: The removal of an entire age cohort from the work force comes at a cost to the society. This a cost includes the rapid turnover of those in compulsory service and the cost of their training [as opposed to] the relatively higher efficiency of a professional army and the growing need for the army to invest in sophisticated weaponry – all in the face of budgets that are static or being cut back.21The Commission found that the "peoples army" ethos, based on compulsory universalconscription, solidarity and equal opportunity to realize ones potential in both20 Ben-Bassat Commission Report, p. 31. "The Commission operates under the assumption thatIsraels army must be based upon compulsory service," is the sentence which opens the chapter dealingwith the principles of establishing the length of service, which formed the basis of the Commissionsdeliberations.21 Commission Examining the Issue of Shortening Compulsory IDF Service, Report, 2006, p. 18.
  12. 12. 11performance and compensation, does not exist in fact. Its conclusions were of nosurprise to top IDF leadership, familiar as they were with the Sheffer Commission andits 2002 examination of the compulsory draft.The Gen. Gideon Sheffer CommissionThe Commission to examine the issue of compulsory service, headed by Gen (Res.)Gideon Sheffer was appointed by Gen. Gil Regev, Head of IDF Human Resources in2002. Operating as an internal military commission, its findings were not brought tothe countrys political leadership for public debate. The Commission included civilianexperts as well as key military personnel, and was endorsed by the Head of IDFHuman Resources.22The Sheffer Commission looked at the issue of compulsory conscription in relation tosocial and cultural trends in the IDF and in Israeli society as a whole, as well as coststo the Israeli economy as well as to the military and IDF human resources. TheCommission identified significant changes in compulsory conscription related tosome of its most basic principles.The most prominent of these changes related to the principle of universality, meaningthat service is compulsory for all, with exemptions granted on an individual basis(other than Arabs, who are exempted as a group). However, there are more and moredeviations from this principle, due to beliefs and values, such as the neo-liberal orrights ethos, which are at odds with the general ethos.The Commission revealed that in effect, the IDF does not operate according to theprinciple of a "peoples army," reflected in "differentiation," that is, the streaming ofinductees to different roles based on the length of their service and matching thelength of service with IDF needs. Examples of "differentiation" include the different22 The Sheffer Commissions members consisted of the civilians Dr, Yaacov Sheinin, Dr. Reuven Gal,Dr. Neri Horvitz, Lt. Col. (Res.) Ilan Levine, Atty Eyal Nun; from the IDF: Col. Avi Zamir (Head ofHuman Resources Support Unit), Brig. Gen. Reuven First (‫ ,)רחמ"א אט"ל‬Col. Moshe Lippel (Head ofBudgeting for the Advisor to ‫ ,)כ"ל‬Col. Yehudit Grisaro (Head of ‫ תו"מ‬Unit, IAF), Col. Ofra BenYishai (Head of ‫ ,)ממד"ה‬Col. Shirley Karni (Deputy to the Advisor to the Chief of Staff for Women),Col. Hadas Ben Eliyahu (Head of Research for ‫ ,)ממד"ה‬Col. Anat Kedem ( ‫ רע"ן מימ"ד‬to the Advisor tothe Chief of Staff for Women), Maj. Oshrat Romano, Maj. Alon Solomon, Cap. Rina Moshe (Head ofResearch Unit for the Compulsory Army for ‫.)ממד"ה‬
  13. 13. 12lengths of service for men and women, between combat soldiers, technicians andacademic deferrals, positions centered on guard duty or special populations. It alsotakes compensation levels into account – pocket money which ranges according tolevel of activity, payments for benefits such as for combat fighters, or funds forsoldiers discharged upon completion of their service.The Commission pointed out that over the years, additional forms of compensation,such as mortgage assistance, tax benefits and university scholarships for dischargedsoldiers have come to be considered an inseparable and indispensible element ofIsraels social service network.The Commission voiced the opinion that these "differentiations" could act to easesome of the pressures exerted by individuals and groups with respect to length ofservice (conscientious objectors, the ultra-Orthodox and others). It could alsoimprove professionalism and professional expertise, service and product quality,together with accumulated professional knowledge, in both appearance and in fact.The Sheffer Commissions recommendations state that all such differentiations shouldoffer compensation commensurate with the level of service, with outright preferenceto those who serve in combat units and officers.In its summary remarks, the Commission concluded that the differentiation processbrings considerable benefits for the compulsory army and brings credit to the IDF asan efficient and economically-minded organization. According to the Commission,this approach should be firmly established by changing the compulsory draft laws andinvesting more resources into personnel.23International ExperienceIn late 2010, Germany and Poland announced major reforms to their armed servicesand to end compulsory conscription. The goal of the changes was to improve theirarmies professional capabilities, to adapt them to the demands of modern warfare aswell as international cooperation. Polands Minister of Defense noted that only a23 The Commission suggested various alternatives to the current situation including a recommendationto decrease the number of those in compulsory service by 35% to 48%.
  14. 14. 13professional army could deal with the challenges posed by global terror and the warsto come.24This reinforced a growing trend in favor of a volunteer-based army, alreadyimplemented in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands,Belgium and Italy, which all cancelled or dramatically reduced military conscription.A study conducted in 2006 by the Labor Research Institute in Germany (IZA)regarding the draft in OECD countries showed that true to the projections ofeconomic theorists, the draft causes static inefficiency, disrupts the accumulation ofhuman and material capital. Compared to the economies of countries with volunteerarmies, those with conscription-based armies have a lower GNP.25 Findings forOECD countries show that the draft has negative effects and that volunteerprofessional armies lead to increased production of 1% to 5%. The same effect wasnoted in countries which offer alternative forms of national and community service.These international studies indicate that the more a country relies on a conscription-based army, the lower its efficiency and preparedness, as illustrated in Figure 3.A study commissioned by the CES Institute in Munich examined the ongoing relatedcosts of the draft and reached the same conclusion, noting that it is a myth thatconscription armies provide a social solution and cheap labor. "For economists," thestudy states, "this finding should not be surprising, since recruiting volunteers fromthe job market is traditionally considered a more effective method of profiting fromthe distribution of work and expertise." 2624 Roman Prister, Dana Harman, New York Times, "Europe Gives Up Compulsory Draft," Haaretz,October 27, 2010. http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1186658.html25 Katarina Keller, Panu Poutvaara, Andreas Wagener, Military Draft and Economic Growth in OECDCountries, Discussion Paper No. 2022 (2006), http://ftp.iza.org/dp2022.pdf .26 Morten Lau, Panu Poutvaara and Andreas Wagener, The Dynamic Cost of the Draft, CESIFOworking paper No. 774, September 2002, http://tinyurl.com/38rn817 .
  15. 15. 14 Figure 3: Efficiency and military readiness based on work force (Conscripts, permanent and reserves)Source: Panu Poutvaara and Andreas Wagener, The Political Economy of Conscription(2009), adapted from Karl Haltiner (1998), http://ftp.iza.org/dp4429.pdfA Harvard University study focused on the implications of the draft for the futureincome of those drafted, whose entry into professional life was delayed. It showedthat their wages remained some 8% lower for an average period of nine years fromthe completion of their service. According to these findings, one year of compulsorymilitary service was equivalent to the loss of two years of job experience.27The Israeli model of reserve duty presents an additional problem and an even greaterdifficulty when it comes to military preparedness. Calling up reserve forces addspressure to the atmosphere in Israel, often in a state of tension, which can lead tounintended results. Israeli leaders, aware of this problem, have on more than oneoccasion delayed calling in reservists in order to avoid creating increased tension,with fateful consequences, as in the case of the Yom Kippur War.27 Imbens, Guido and Wilbert van der Klaauw, "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in theNetherlands," Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 13(1995),http://ideas.repec.org/p/fth/harver/1632/html.
  16. 16. 15Suicide in the ArmyOne of the most tragic and heavy costs of the "peoples army" ethos and universalconscription is that of suicides. The combinations of the difficulties of living within amilitary framework and access to weapons led the Inter-Ministerial Commission forSuicide Prevention to define soldiers as a "high risk" group. The Commissionsfindings showed an average of 35 suicides a year in the IDF, meaning one every 10 to14 days.28 As of July, 2010, 19 soldiers had committed suicide in the current year.29According to the Brodet Commission, some 27% of IDF casualties in 2005 weresuicides (see Figure 4). Due to its social, many of the numbers are hidden by listingthe cause of death as "accidental" or "other." Figure 4: Distribution of IDF casualties in 2004Source: Brodet Commission on the Defense Budget, Report, p. 117.Dr. Yarden Katzir, who served as a mental health officer, researched suicides in theIDF as part of his doctoral dissertation. He noted:28 Inter-Ministerial Commission for Suicide Prevention, "Preventing Suicide among Children andYouth in the State of Israel," presentation, http://www.moia.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/4BEDD985-9408-46D9-BE76-6107C6721C8C/0/SuisidePrevention.ppt29 Hanan Greenberg, "Concern in the IDF Regarding Numbers of Suicides," Ynet, July 7, 2010,http://ynet.co.il/articles/0.7340.L-3915005.00.html
  17. 17. 16 The distinguishing characteristics between suicidal and non-suicidal soldiers lies in how they experience and deal with the pressures of their soldiers adjustments to the new army environment: his treatment by his commanders, relations with the soldiers in his unit, invasion of privacy, wearing the uniform. The same issues came up with soldiers who sought counseling from the mental health officer. Thus, inter-personal pressures stem from the soldiers difficulty in adapting to his new environment. Induction into the army places numerous pressures on a young conscript which he must address simultaneously.30Psychologist Benny Marom works with the army as a researcher to prevent suicidesamong soldiers and notes that there are an average of 35 cases a year. "This aspect islargely erased from public discussion. Of the 21,000 casualties who fell since theestablishment of the State, it is quite possible that almost 10% of them, or 1,500, weresuicides."31These figures show that the number one cause of death in the IDF, for years in whichthere are no wars, is suicide. One may surmise that if everyone who served in thearmy had chosen to be there, there would be fewer who were unsuitable, and fewersuicides.Violation of Individual Freedom They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)Although rarely addressed, many have noted that the universal conscription lawentails a profound violation of those conscripts individual freedom. This violationhas become less acceptable in Israeli society than in the past. The ShefferCommission noted that "another factor disturbing [the IDFs exclusive management ofsocietys human resources] is that of rights, and questioning the armys monopoly overthe individuals right to act according to his conscience."32 The Ben-Bassat30 Dr. Yarden Katzir, "Suicide in the IDF," 2005, study conducted at Bar-Ilan University under thesupervision of Prof. David Tzuriel, http://www.hebpsy.net/articles.asp?id=54331 Benny Marom, quoted by Moran Zelikovic, "Jewish Mens Suicides Triple Arabs," Ynet, September4, 2004, http://ynet.co.il/articles/0.7340.L-2973102.00.html32 Sheffer Commission Report on Compulsory Service, Summary, Section 12.3.
  18. 18. 17Commission, too, identified the factors of "external elements connected to the welfareof youth and their freedom which are unquantifiable."33Of all state intrusions into individual rights, conscription into the military is the mostdrastic in that is stands contrary to the most fundamental of individual rights – theright to live. Denying or jeopardizing this right during ones most formative yearsepitomizes Statist principles (elevating the State to uppermost priority). Liberalthought, on the other hand, recognizes the individuals right to life and to property asbasic and independent of the State. Elevation of the State to a supreme priority, towhich thousands of Israeli youth are exposed during their army service, is in directopposition to the outlook which they require as sovereign, independent, free andcreative citizens.The justification for compulsory service arose from within the context of a state ofemergency with the societys very survival at stake. This situation led to theestablishment of the IDF, which stated at the time that compulsory conscription wouldtake place only in the event of emergency.34 However, as this paper demonstrates, thebulk of compulsory service falls upon a minority of youth who are called upon toserve for 36 months and on less than 4% of the Jewish male population for reserveduty. This situation calls into question the claim that the absence of the draft wouldlead to a shortage in manpower into question. Under the current situation, there is asurplus of conscripts. The efforts to strengthen the image of an egalitarian army leadto a waste of money and resources and harm the countrys security. This situation hasled to the growing number of voices who call for channeling compulsory service intonational civilian service.35 The numbers show that on can build a professionalvolunteer-based army.Public Opinion Survey about the IDF33 Commission on the Issue of Shortening Compulsory IDF Service, Report, p. 9.34 Section 2 in the directive to establish the IDF states: "Compulsory conscription to all branches of theIDF is to be enacted in a state of emergency." May 26, 1948.35 The growing trends to replace military service with a civilian alternative are based on theassumption that the relationship between the state and the individual is that of social rights as opposedto "compulsory service." Even if there is no cause to draft individuals into the army, it would be rightto create a framework through which they could contribute through different kinds of work and therebypreserve the ideological ethos not connected to the armys needs.
  19. 19. 18The Jerusalem Institute for Market Research conducted a longitudinal survey whichtracked public opinion regarding the economy and society. The most recent survey,conducted in May, 2010 through the Dahaf Institute interviewed 992 people whocomposed a representative sample of the adult Jewish Israeli population. Its questionsaddressed their positions regarding the army, their confidence in its authority, as wellas their positions regarding compulsory service, professionalism and draft evaders.The following highlights a number of the central questions and the significantresponses.When asked whether they agreed with the statement that "the army should hirecivilians to replace reservists in non-combat roles," the tendency was to respondpositively. Out of a total of 85.7% who answered either positively or negatively,42.27% agreed as opposed to 38.51% who disagreed.To the statement, "in order to increase the defense budget, non-combat activitiesshould be handed to private companies, for example, food services, laundry, automechanics, cleaning and maintenance, etc.," 85% of respondents who had an opinionin the matter, of whom 55.65% agreed or strongly agreed and 29.24% disagreed. SeeFigure 5. Figure 5: Opinion on IDF outsourcingBased on these responses, there seems to be relatively wide recognition among thepublic that outsourcing would improve and increase efficiency in professions whichare not at the core of military activity. At the same time, when asked their opinion
  20. 20. 19about the statement, "Israel should strive toward a volunteer-based army like theUnite States and end compulsory draft," the "peoples army ethos" regardingcompulsory service remains firm. Of the 92.45% of respondents who held an opinion,18.35% agreed and 74.1% disagreed. Figure 6: Transforming the IDF into a volunteer army with no compulsory draftThe survey also examined to what degree the Israeli public would be willing to enactsocial sanctions against draft evaders. When asked, "If a young person refuses to bedrafted into the army, are you in favor or against employers not hiring them a job forthat reason?" 96.27% of those surveyed responded, with 50% in favor and 46.27%opposed.These questions reflect a growing recognition and readiness among the public toimprove the IDFs efficiency through outsourcing, and that despite the wide supportfor the "peoples army" model, there was much less support for the idea of sanctioningthose who oppose that model.SummaryDespite indications within this survey that the majority of Israelis recognize the needto improve the armys efficiency and outsource activities which are not directlyconnected to core defense matters, there is a "politically correct" outlook from whichfew depart. This outlook leaves the "peoples army" as a given. Most Israelis speakabout it and want it to remain despite the fact that it does not actually exist. This wish
  21. 21. 20has led to the proposal of a number of reforms which begin with the message that wecannot abandon the "peoples army" model, while on one level or another, theyrecommend a move to a more professional and selective levels of service andcompensation.Contrary to the deeply rooted convention that the model of a "peoples army" based ona universal draft is inviolable, this model does not exist in fact. Only 59% of males ofdraft age are inducted and complete their allotted term of duty36 while fewer that halfof them complete the full 36 months (due to various arrangements and abbreviatedterms). An average of 8,900 drop out of army service during their first year (7,000 ofwhom are men) due to a range of problems, mostly related to their adjustment andmotivation. The remaining population forms the basis of the reserve duty force. Therate of those who fulfill the full reserve duty required of them is 4% of the maleJewish population. If one compares the number of those who complete their reserveduty to the full Israeli population of working age, the rate is even lower: 1%.Placing the major share of Israels security on a small section of the population createsdiscrimination between those who shoulder the majority of the full burden of militaryservice without fitting compensation and the remainder of the population who "dontserve." This splintering has transformed army service from a unifying "melting pot"into a source of division and contention. In addition, it leads to initiatives for"corrective" legislation which distort equality before the law for all Israeli citizens.Drafting a superfluous amount of soldiers to compulsory service throws off efficiencyestimates and delays deployment of advanced technologies and their effective use.One could operate a professional army and pay those who serve a wagecommensurate to their skills for the equivalent of NIS 90 million a year. This,combined with discharging personnel who bring no added value to the army and/orwho would not be interested in serving under the new model, thus changing theprinciple of the universal conscription, stand to greatly improve the quality ofpersonnel, bring efficiency to IDF operations, solve problems neglected surplus36 As stated above, findings which IDF sources presented to the Ben-Bassat Commission showed thatin addition to 23% of males who are not drafted to begin with, another 18% exit the army during theirterm of duty.
  22. 22. 21manpower by releasing them to the job market. This added system efficiency isestimated to contribute an annual NIS 9 billion (1.7% of the GDP) to the system.In addition to all this, according to Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amatzia Hen (who, as noted,developed a reform plan to activate reserve forces in the General Staff), under thepresent system, reserve forces who lack sufficient training and expertise, risk failureand risks loss of life in battle and place impediments to meeting Israels militaryobjectives.Thus, the idea of the "peoples army," supported by those who call for reinforcingcompulsory conscription by including additional segments of Israeli society (the ultra-Orthodox, draft evaders and women who do not currently serve) serves neither Israelssecurity needs nor the armys, harms Israels economic resilience and conflicts withthe principles of a free society.

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