Israeli military police ended one of its largest campaigns to arrest soldiers who deserted the mandatory military service, this Thursday.
Media reports stated that the military police have arrested 292 deserters or evaders as part of this campaign over the past decade. It is estimated that 4,350 men and women have evaded military service.
A military police official said that intelligence information was used to arrest 292 individuals accused of evading military service. He noted that this figure reflects a 20 per cent increase in the number of arrested individuals during previous campaigns.
He also added that military police officers have used violence against those they have arrested in some cases. He also said that there was not enough space in military prisons to hold the number of recently arrested individuals; otherwise they would have arrested more.
The military police official also admitted that many of these deserters evaded military service for up to eight years.
Two females who were arrested were quickly released because they were pregnant and therefore exempt from military service.
All of the arrested individuals were given access to a defence lawyer to represent them before the military court. The lawyers are paid for by the army.