February 8, 2013
IDF to tackle Ethiopian troops’ adjustment problems
A new IDF unit will work on integrating Ethiopian recruits, who are over-represented in army prisons.
Army Radio reported that Brig.-Gen. Eli Shermeister, who heads the Israel Defense Forces Education and Youth Corps, set up the unit last month after senior IDF officers learned that half of all Ethiopian soldiers were sentenced to prison at some time during their military service.
Though they account for only three percent of the Israeli army, one in every five inmates of army prisons are Ethiopians, the military radio station reported. Immigrants from families from the former Soviet Union accounted for 16 percent of inmates in 2011.
An earlier report from 2012 by Ma'ariv and other Israeli media quoted the IDF Spokesperson as putting the number of jailed Ethiopian soldiers at 10-11 percent.
“Something happens when Ethiopian recruits enlist and encounter army life,” Major Hila Alperin, the commander of the new Education Corps unit, told Army Radio. “Something goes wrong during their process of adjustment and integration.”