There are several different ways to enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces, be it via conscription, volunteering, a service program (such as Machal), and more. The length and type of service vary.
Most new immigrants are required to serve in the Israel Defense Force around a year after making aliyah, depending on their age, gender, and medical profile.
The amount of time a new immigrant must serve is based on their arrival date to Israel. A stay in Israel as a tourist or temporary resident, followed by two or more years out of the country, will usually not be counted. Additionally, participants on a Jewish Agency or Student Authority program for up to one year who then leave Israel for a minimum of 12 months will not have that year counted. In both cases, the date of your return to Israel acts as your arrival date.
Men – Army Duration
|Age of Arrival||Profile||Single||Married|
|Under 18||36 Months||36 Months|
|18-19||31-97||30 Months||18 Months|
|20-21||31-97||24 Months||6 Months|
|22-25||65-97||6 Months||6 Months|
Additionally, all men who are married with children are exempt from Army service, regardless of their age.
Women – Army Duration
|Age of Arrival||Unmarried||Married|
|Under 20||24 Months||Exempt|
Additionally, women who are married, pregnant, or parents are exempt from Army service, regardless of their age. Single women under 25 can choose to volunteer for the IDF, for a minimum of 12 months.
Bnei Mehagrim – Children of Immigrants
The army classifies Bnei Mehagrim as children of Israeli citizens who live overseas. Individuals born to Israeli citizens overseas, or those who left Israel with their parents before turning 16, are considered new immigrants if they returned after turning 20. As such they serve less time in the IDF.
In order to keep Ben Mehager status, you must be sure to not return to Israel for more than 120 days each calendar year. additionally, your parents may not return to Israel for more than 6 months each year. Bnei Mehagrim can also receive an “exemption year” (more than 120 days in Israel); however, this will require you to wait an extra year to receive an exemption.