One out of every six IDF soldiers drop out of their service before it is completed – not by going AWOL, but by getting themselves discharged for a variety of physical, and more commonly psychological, ailments.
Among soldiers of Ethiopian background, that number is one in four.
According to IDF statistics, 16.5% of male soldiers and 7.5% of female soldiers left army service before their full term was complete. Among soldiers of Ethiopian background, 22.8% of male soldiers and 10% of female soldiers dropped out. That represents a 2% fall in the dropout rate for male soldiers, but an increase of 1.5% for female soldiers since 2012.
In effect, more Ethiopian background youths are serving in the army, but more are dropping out, officials said.
A 2011 report released by the IDF’s Manpower branch reveals that the military continues to face difficulties in integrating the Ethiopian-Israeli community. More than 50% of soldiers from Ethiopia have a military profile lower than 47, compared to 23% in the general population.
In addition, 53% of Ethiopian soldiers were jailed at some point during their IDF service, compared to 25.5% among other soldiers. The gap is particularly wide among female soldiers, the report noted.