High School Students in Israel Face Mandatory Military Service Post Graduation


By Dylan Orren-King, Staff Writer

Israel is one of the United States biggest allies in the Middle East, but their high school students aren’t preparing for college, they’re preparing for a potential war.

The Israeli Defense Force has been around since the very beginnings of the country and has had plenty of engagements from the Palestinian people to international aggressors. However, they always have new recruits coming in every year to fight. Why? The reason for this is the Israel Defense Service Law, which requires both men and women at the age of 18 to enlist in mandatory service.

Think about that for a second. While we are in the US, applying to college, and worrying about our future and what school we may end up in, Israeli students, the same age as us, are preparing to serve their country. Sure we have students who are also going into the military, but that number is small compared to the amount of seniors going to college.

“I find it difficult to believe that there’s a government out there that physically forces people to fight for them.” said Katie Durot, a senior at WHHS. “I would move if they tried to make me do that. I can understand if anyone wants to volunteer to serve, but to put everyone’s life on the line for that… I can’t agree with it,” Durot adds.

The law specifies that men and women aged 18 to 54 must serve in the military at some point, whether that be on the front lines, or in a support unit.

“There’s not much to say other than it makes sense,” said Seth Prince, a senior at WHHS. “They are in a political position where they have too. They’re surrounded on all sides by enemies. I wouldn’t want to go, but I would understand why.”

Most soldiers are called to service as soon as high school ends, however, there are exemptions for disabled and sick individuals on a case-by-case basis. Not reporting for mandatory service can be punishable by jail time.

One high school student in Israel is proud to serve his country and does so willingly. 

“Growing up knowing I was going into the army didn’t affect me until about two years ago,” said Ohad Shemer, a high school student in Israel. For security reasons, we cannot say which school he attends.

“Our system is exactly like America’s. Elementary to middle school then to high school, but instead of going to college we just know we’re gonna go into the military,” Shemer added.  “I don’t feel forced mainly because everyone goes. I want to serve my country and all my friends are going. It would actually feel weird for me not to go.”