Two hundred new recruits will be entering into Nachal Chareidi in the August draft, representing a 33% increase from the last induction. On Thursday, 7 Menachem Av 5772, just a week before the Tal Law expires, they are entering the IDF. For the sake of comparison, 83% of the new inductees are chareidim, as opposed to 70% in the last induction. The next induction is in November and this officials predict will bring the number of inductees into Nachal Chareidi for the year to 550.
Yediot Achronot points out the unit has endured its share of negative criticism, citing an army statement that called it “a failed experiment” since it comes with many demands foreign from the mainstream IDF norm, including an environment without women. There are also the demands for Eida Chareidis food, davening and learning times, all contributing to the negative criticism from those who are unwilling to accept the lifestyle of a chareidi combat soldier.
On the up side, Yediot conducted a survey of 1,000 Nachal Chareidi vets and according to the report, despite the critics; Nachal Chareidi should be viewed as a major success in the eyes of the state and its citizens. 82% report a positive change in attitudes towards them and their outlook on the state. Since the establishment of the unit there has been a 50% increase in the number of vets who obtained a college degree, 95% earned a degree or learned a skill towards joining the workforce, 63% of those working earn above the monthly average salary, 8% returned to yeshiva following their discharge from military service and 76% earned a bagrut matriculation diploma or a vocational certification as compared to 24% at the time of enlistment.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)