Tuesday 4 March 2014

National Service and Army Service

1. The Ultra Religious mass demonstration in Jerusalem should be a huge wake-up call to all of us. As the demonstrators were mainly male it is not unreasonable to assume that they represent at least one million and probably even more. If we add to this the number of the Arabs in  Israel we find that over 40 per cent of the citizens of Israel don't want to serve in the Army. And so while the army was the unifying force and a leveller of the diverse segments of our population make-up in the 50s and 60s, it has now become a divisive factor added together with other factors to weaken Israel from within.

2. Gradually the army moved from being a unifying factor to become over the years a divisive social factor. It churned out generals and officers that created military oligarchies  within the civil, economic and the political  life of the country to the exclusion not only of the Haredi religious community but also to some immigrant communities and certainly to all the Arab minorities.  This highlights sharply how the people in Israel are divided and it calls for immediate and long term measures to rectify this serious situation.

3. This is not a healthy state of affairs and therefore it has become imperative to find a long term consensual solution. One such simple solution is to separate National Service from Military Service by creating a modern professional smaller army fit for the emerging warfare of the 21st century. How?

4. All adult citizens irrespective of religion, nationality or ethnicity are to serve by law a period of 2/3 years Compulsory National Service from age 18. This Service concentrates on Home Defence, emergency duties and social services and extends to farming and infrastructural projects. Nachal was a great and proud division of the IDF. We would do well by avoiding imported foreign labour into Israel stalking for ourselves future problems.

5. Military Service will be based on army voluntary recruits. These recruits have to be passed by the army as to their suitability for military service, especially for combat specialised units for the defence of the country from outside threats.

6. Salaries of members of both services are set in favour of the military recruits to incentify them. Moreover Military Service exempts its members automatically from National Service once they served equal term in the Army to that set for the National Service. 

Aharon Nathan, 4th March 2014