The IDF will soon begin to implement a new set of benefits for combat soldiers: An increase in wages to NIS 2,000 a month, financial aid towards university studies and improved training facilities and equipment. the changes are intended to negate the slow but steady decrease in new recruits’ readiness to serve in combat positions. “The most important thing for the army is its fighting force,” said Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.

IDF soldiers | Archive

IDF soldiers | Archive Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/ Channel 2 News

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot has approved a series of benefits for IDF combat soldiers as part of a program designed to empower disheartened soldiers and motivate new recruits to enlist to combat positions. According to the IDF, 67% of new recruits requested to join combat positions in July, down from 74% in November. Instead of signing up for combat positions, new recruits are now more likely to request positions closer to home and in cyber and technology units.

The changes to be implemented next month will be most prominent in elite units like the Sayeret Matkal commando unit, the naval commando unit, Shaldag and the Search and Rescue unit.

IDF soldiers | Archive

IDF soldiers | Archive Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson/ Channel 2 News

According to Eizenkot, the salaries of combat soldiers will be increased to NIS 2,000, about $560, per month and each soldier will receive cards with money that they can spend towards personal items like clothing and sporting equipment. They will also receive a kit upon their completion of basic training with new and improved equipment. Finally, the IDF will fund bachelor degrees for combat soldiers who completed their mandatory service.

“Intelligence is important, cyber is important,” Eizenkot said, “but the most important thing for the army is its fighting force who carries out the tasks and risks its life.”