JTA — A new Israeli military unit will work on integrating Ethiopian recruits, who account for 50 percent of all army prison inmates.
Army Radio reported that Brig.-Gen. Eli Shermeister, who heads the Israel Defense Forces Education and Youth Corps, set up the new unit last month after senior IDF officers learned that half of all Ethiopian soldiers were sentenced to prison at some time during their military service.
Though they account for only three percent of the Israeli army, one in every five inmates of army prisons are Ethiopians, the military radio station reported. Immigrants from families from the former Soviet Union accounted for 16 percent of inmates in 2011.
“Something happens when Ethiopian recruits enlist and encounter army life,” Major Hila Alperin, the commander of the new Education Corps unit, is quoted as saying. “Something goes wrong during their process of adjustment and integration.”