By law, every young person in Israel is obliged to enlist. Strong social pressure is put on youth towards enlistment from a young age, including by the education system. Military service is perceived as a natural, indisputable stage of a citizen’s life. Military service can indeed be a positive experience for some, but it might have negative implications on many others. Many are just not made for military service and suffer there tremendously. Yet, the choice not to enlist is often presented as leading to a social and professional impasse, and is perceived as a reason for condemnation and strong criticism, and it bears consequences of stigma, social discrimination, and negative labeling in civil life.

Despite the perpetual myth of “the people’s army,” less than half of Israeli youth are actually enlisted to the Military, and only some 40% complete a full military service. Beyond populations which are granted mass exemption from service, and those the military decides to exempt (mostly due to criminal record or health disabilities), many youth choose to disobey the legal requirement of serving in the Israeli military.

In a reality where avoiding enlistment is a taboo, youth who were not drafted or haven’t completed their military service often find themselves feeling lonely and isolated, lacking  information on alternative frameworks through which they could integrate in civil life. 

In New Profile’s publication “The Day After Exemption,” we gathered information on civil alternatives for those exempted from service, in fields of professional training, employment and livelihood, education and scholarships, housing, psychological treatment, volunteering, and more. The information was collected from various agencies who provide services and assistance. It is a general guide and might change from time to time, so it is recommended also to contact those agencies (detailed in the publication) directly, in order to get up-to-date information.

The Day after Exemption (Hebrew)

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