(JNS.org) Israeli Christian enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces is expected to set a new record next year as many Christian youths seek greater integration into Israeli society.
Last year, Christian enlistment in the IDF rose to more than 100 soldiers as part of a recruitment effort by Christian leaders such as Greek Orthodox priest Father Gabriel Naddaf as well as the Israeli military itself. Next year, that number is predicted to rise to 200, Israel National News reported.
IDF Col. (res.) Pini Gonen, who runs the Gadna youth battalion project for Christian youths for the Israeli Defense Ministry, told the Walla news website that on Tuesday, a seminar was opened for 48 Christian youths, including two women, in which he saw increased motivation among Christians to serve in the military.
According to Gonen, the four-week seminar includes military preparation and a leadership course, as well as visits to Jerusalem, churches, Israel's north, and more.
"They arrive with very high motivation for military service," Gonen said. "Just last week Jennifer, an Arab Christian soldier, was selected for exceptional performance in a course operating [the] Iron Dome [missile defense system]. She also finished basic training with exceptional ratings."
"I believe that the number of recruits will rise. Already today you can see [Christian] officers at the rank of major in the teleprocessing branch, [the] navy, and other units. Even more senior rankings are just a matter of time," he added.