(Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Israel’s outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that he has planned out an updated military service model for the next 57 years, requiring all citizens to commit to minimum military obligations as he believes most Israeli youth will refuse to join the military by 2050.
Gantz addressed the apparent shortage of conscripts in the military, calling it a “social and security bomb” for Israel, leaving Tel Aviv vulnerable to Palestinian and Iranian adversaries.
The outgoing defense minister further elaborated that the army’s lack of recruitment weakens “the army and state,” adding that this will hinder Israel’s settlement plans.
He noted that he has witnessed a vast decline in recruitment rates over the years and that this hindrance is not exclusively a demographic issue but a result of poor leadership decisions.
Gantz has openly criticized the current administration before. In October, he criticized opposition leader and incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his approach to Iran’s nuclear deal.
Gantz considered it a detriment to “our [Israel] battle against Iran’s nuclear program” and instead prioritized strengthening the Palestinian governance, believing it will strengthen national security. He further added that Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is Tel Aviv’s largest security threat.
His recent comments contradict his sentiments in October – during an interview with Israel Hayom, as he remarked that Israel is the strongest nation in West Asia.
Gantz’s fears of a decline in Israel’s defense sector are shared by other government officials. In October, Israel’s State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman reported that Tel Aviv is unprepared and underequipped for its weekly operations in the West Bank against the Palestinian resistance.
However, the current Chief of Staff of Israel, Aviv Kochavi, has been blunt with his condemnation of incoming Defense Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, despite his plans to bolster Israel’s defense mechanisms and approach to the Palestinians.
In July, several Israeli officials also stated that Israel’s ground forces are “ill-prepared” for battle.
This division of the Israeli army has reportedly been hit with numerous budget cuts for several years and is often ignored by media coverage, causing new recruits to consider the unit “unattractive.”