Looking at the numbers
Is Tel Aviv still known for its draft-dodgers? It's worth a re-examination
Once known for its allegedly low enlistment rates, Tel Aviv high school graduates have one of the highest IDF draft levels in Israel.
MK Elezar Stern from Hatnuah Party 11.6.2013. Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90
Eight years ago, at the height of the Second Lebanon War, MK Elazar Stern (today a Member of Knesset from HaTnuah and then as an IDF General, serving as the head of the Army's Human Resources Directorate) said that Tel Aviv youth are not enlisting for combat service.
He was not alone.
Minister Uzi Landau from the Yisrael Beiteinu Party coined Tel Aviv Youth as "The Wine and Cheese People" and MK Eli Yishai from the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party Shas proposed to send Military Police officers to search for draft dodgers in Tel Aviv.
MK Stern has since then changed his stance. "I have no doubt that in the past eight years Israeli society has socially and collectively recovered and the solidarity that we see today is very impressive and important."
On weekends, the beach in Tel Aviv is full of not only beachgoers and tourists, but high school students training to be accepted into some of the IDF's most competitive and elite units.
An examination of enlistment levels among high school graduates alone reveals that close to 90% of young men in Tel Aviv enlist in the Army. Among them, 40% enlist in combat units.
According to IDF statistics that compare enlistment rates among all of the different Israeli communities, Tel Aviv's rate currently stands at around 75%.
The cities of Modi'in, Rosh Ha'ayin and Yehud lead the list at around 90% enlistment, but they are all homogenous cities. The cities with the highest overall enlistment rates have a strong internal social fabric and they all have close to a complete Jewish majority. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, has a larger percentage of Arab Israelis and ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not enlist in the IDF. An examination of enlistment levels among high school graduates alone reveals that close to 90% of young men in Tel Aviv enlist in the Army. Among them, 40% enlist in combat units.
The substantial enlistment of Tel Aviv youth has also unfortunately been seen in the tragic losses from the recent Operation Protective Edge where three soldiers who were killed in action were from Tel Aviv.