IDF chief urges youth to enlist, amid student calls to refuse service due to overhaul

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks at a ceremony, September 6, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks at a ceremony, September 6, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The chief of the Israel Defense Forces responds to calls by hundreds of teenagers who have announced they will not serve in the military as protest against the government’s judicial overhaul push and Israel’s decades-long military rule over the West Bank.

“For the youth who are considering not enlisting, there is a clear statement: We will always live here, in the State of Israel. Because of this we must defend [it],” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says at a ceremony.

“Anyone who is considering not enlisting should ask themselves what would happen if everyone behaved like them,” Halevi continues.

“In days of controversy, however difficult they may be, one must not lose their direction. The IDF is the right place to be,” he says.

Halevi also says Israel must continue the so-called “people’s army” model — one in which all Israelis are meant to serve in the military — amid plans by the government to lower the age at which ultra-Orthodox men can gain permanent exemptions from drafting to the army.

“This is a model that requires drafting from as many parts of the Israeli population as possible. With the right adjustments, there is a place and a way to implement this in the developing Israeli society,” he says.

“Our position is clear, draft for all,” Halevi adds.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.