IDF officials say the number of Arabs, Bedioun, Circassians & other minorities who volunteered for the special unit has increased dramatically, including new recruits from East Jerusalem.
To his soldiers who never finished high school, the Unit commander recommends IDF educational courses.
By Shlomo Diaz
The Israel Defense Forces Desert Reconnaissance Battalion celebrated on Tuesday 20 years since its formation, as dozens of new recruits — each and every one of them volunteers — joined its ranks. Optimistic IDF officials have forecast an upward trend, predicting significantly more recruits in the future.
IDF Desert Reconnaissance Battalion commander Zahai Rahal – Photo courtesy: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit
Throughout Israel, a steadily increasing number of Bedouin, Circassians, Christians and Muslim Arabs have expressed interest in joining the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion. Just this year, the battalion marked a significant increase in the number of east Jerusalem residents seeking to enlist.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Zahai Rahal praised his soldiers’ decision to enlist despite social pressure to do otherwise.
“We are proud of our soldiers’ great contribution and motivation to enlist, though the fact is that many of them are dealing not just with their army service, but problems resulting from their decision to contribute to the state,” he said.
The battalion commander, who assumed the position in June 2013, said the recent uptick in the number of east Jerusalem recruits marked a breakthrough.
“These soldiers are receiving our full support. We let them to go home out of uniform because there are many people who don’t know that they are actually IDF soldiers, and there are fears of harassment,” he said.
Several soldiers enlisting do so without having completed their high school education, Rahal explained. Some are even illiterate. Rahal emphasized that the unit has started to provide its soldiers with the necessary tools to help them complete their education.
“Educational courses were offered to the unit’s soldiers this past year; 88 percent of soldiers who applied completed them successfully. Those who enter civilian life definitely succeed. We’re releasing more and more soldiers all the time and witnessing results.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=16421