IDF Army Service Exemption / Postponement

Though IDF military draft in Israel is obligatory, there are some exceptions. In certain circumstances, the law exempts certain groups of people from obligatory IDF army service, while in other circumstances there are military policies in effect, to exempt a certain group of people from service. Other groups of people are qualified to have their service postponed until they no longer qualify for postponement and must then enlist, or until they qualify for exemption.

Any exemption or postponement given is personal, and therefore even if you belong to one of the groups of people who may be exempt from IDF army service, you must first apply for the exemption or postponement and until it is approved you will continue to be legally obliged to report for service as instructed so as to avoid criminal prosecution.

Even if you qualify to be exempt from IDF military service, you may still have criminal liability from the moment you became of-age for army service and failed to report and until the moment the army approves your exemption.

For instance, a man who avoided draft at the age of 18 and at the age of 20 managed to convince the authorized medical board to exempt him  from service since he is medically unfit for Israeli military service, will still be criminally liable for the two years during which he illegally avoided Israeli army draft. Similarly, a religious woman who failed to apply for an exemption on time and didn’t report for service on her draft date will be criminally liable for her actions, even though she qualified for complete exemption from service.

Below is a list which outlines most populations applicable for exemption or postponement from IDF mandatory service:

• IDF military exemption due to marriage, pregnancy or parenthood (women only): in accordance with Article 39 of the Security Service Act.

IDF military exemption for reasons of religious conviction (Jewish women only): in accordance with Articles 39 and 40 of the Security Service Act.

IDF military exemption for reasons of health: in accordance with Article 5 of the Security Service Act, an authorized medical board may determine that the candidate is medically unfit for Israeli army service.

IDF military exemption for reasons of conscience: in accordance with Article 39 of the Security Service Act, an authorized conscience committee may determine that the candidate is unfit for Israeli army service (pacifist candidate).

IDF military exemption due to marital status, education, security settlement or the Israeli national economy’s needs, in accordance with Article 36 of the Security Service Act.

IDF military exemption for religious Druze, Israeli Arabs and Druze and Circassian women according to current IDF policy.

IDF military postponement or exemption to those who emigrated away from Israel before the age of 16, according to current IDF policy.

IDF military postponement for Jewish religious men: current IDF military draft policy permits applicable religious men who wish to continue their religious studies to have their Israeli army service postponed.

IDF military exemption due to age: those who surpass the Israeli military draft age. This is usually applicable for new immigrants who came to Israel after the military draft age or for those who had legally postponed their Israeli army service and have reached an age which qualifies them for Israeli army service exemption.

Exemption from Israeli army service can be provided prior to the date of enlistment or during the service.