Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Wednesday that the army should start immediate efforts to increase ultra-Orthodox recruitment, including the creation of new religious infantry battalions, even if the issue of universal conscription has not been settled in the Knesset.
“We’re not waiting for a majority in the Knesset to enact a law,” he said, according to a Channel 10 report. “In parallel with the preparation work that is currently taking place in the government… I recommend to the prime minister and relevant ministers to immediately start creating additional ways to recruit the ultra-Orthodox.”
Also on Wednesday, the IDF released data that indicates a jump in ultra-Orthodox enlistment when the next batch of recruits are inducted.
According to the figures, the next group to enter the Nahal Haredi brigade, which caters to the strictly religious, will number some 200 new soldiers, as compared to 150 during the last recruitment period, in March. The new soldiers are to be inducted on Thursday.
Not all Nahal Haredi soldiers are ultra-Orthodox (many are national religious) but the IDF called increase “especially significant,” even though according to an analysis by Channel 10, the increase amounts to only about 20 ultra-Orthodox recruits in total.