The IDF announced an investigation into allegations of deliberately inflating chareidi recruitment figures, after claiming earlier on Wednesday that errors had been found and corrected.
The military said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi tasked Maj. Gen. (res.) Roni Numa with heading the probe. Numa, who recently retired, will also seek to determine the correct enlistment numbers for the period in question, 2011 to 2018.
In a parallel development, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said it intends to convene next Monday for a hearing at which officials from the military and the Defense Ministry will be summoned to testify.
The furor was started by a report on Kan news which alleged that over the past few years the IDF lied to all government offices, including the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, the IDF chief of staff, and the defense minister, in order to appear to meet the chareidi draft goals.
On Wednesday night, a junior officer in the IDF’s Manpower Directorate told Channel 13 news that he was pressured by his superiors to enlarge the numbers.
He said it went on for years, being told “to fix the numbers.” They called this the “art of presenting the figures,” the officer added.
Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz, commander of the Manpower Directorate, said they realized several weeks ago “something about the numbers didn’t add up.” But he denied any “malicious intentions,” attributing the inaccuracies to “excess motivation.”
The numbers were allegedly blown up to silence criticism that efforts to enlist chareidi soldiers were failing.
In 2011 for example, the IDF reported that 1,200 chareidim were drafted when in fact only 600 enlisted. In 2017 the IDF stated that 3,070 chareidim were drafted when in fact only 1,300 enlisted. To boost the numbers, the IDF added secular recruits to the list of chareidim.
According to a report by Haaretz, those who leave the chareidi community and draft into regular IDF units are still considered by the IDF to be chareidi in order to meet their enlistment targets.
Numbers released by the IDF on Sunday showed that 2,400 chareidim were drafted into the IDF in 2018, compared to the 1,300 the previous year.
The IDF responded to the report: “Recently the IDF discovered that an error was made when counting the number of chareidi soldiers in recent years. When the mistake became known, lessons were learned regarding the criteria for counting and regarding strictness with the body in charge of counting the chareidi soldiers within the IDF. We will also note that the numbers for the draft year of 2018 (which ended in June 2019) have not yet been finalized.”
Updated Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 12:33 pm .
Updated Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 2:54 pm add updated info