Israel’s Ministry of Defense has published the exact figures regarding the recruitment of Haredim to the IDF in 2016: Last year, more Haredim joined the IDF than in 2015, but the numbers are still far from the government’s intended target.

Haredi soldiers | Archive

Haredi soldiers | Archive Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi, Flash90/ Channel 2 News

The Israeli Ministry of Defense published the data on the full enlistment of Haredim into the IDF in the year 2016 today (Monday). The data shows that there has been an increase in the number of Haredim who enlisted. In total, some 7,000 ultra-Orthodox men are currently serving in the IDF.

According to a letter publicized by Israel’s Defense Minister’ Avigdor Lieberman, 2,850 Haredim enlisted in the IDF in 2016, up from 2,475 last year but still short; the government had originally planned on reaching 3,200 ultra-Orthodox recruits in total.

The figures indicate that in the past year, most Haredi men enlisted in specialized tracks in the infantry brigades: Netzach Yehuda in the Kfir Brigade, Tomer in the Givati ​​Brigade, and Chetz in the Paratroopers Brigade, all of which cater to the special needs of the Haredi lifestyle. A total of 1,307 Haredim between the ages of 18-21 have enlisted in these tracks.

The rest of the recruits serve in the tracks intended for older draftees. 805 men joined the Shachar program which allows recruits to serve in the army and simultaneously study towards a university degree. 609 joined the Derech Hayim program, which works with Haredi Hesder yeshivas (soldiers split their service time into a period of Jewish studies in the yeshiva and a period of military service) and 609 others chose to integrate into general units the IDF.