(IsraelNN.com) Rabbi David Stav, spokesman for the Association of Hesder Yeshivas, says there has been a rise in the number of Hesder yeshiva students. According to Stav, the number of Hesder students has risen by 10% over last year and now numbers 1,400. Rabbi Stav says there has been a similar growth in the Haredi yeshivas where students do not do any army service. The number of students in pre-army yeshivas who do one year of yeshiva and three full years of army service has not grown at all. Many had anticipated a drop in the number of Hesder and pre-army yeshiva students with the increasing tendency by the political echelon to use the army against Jews.
Students in the Hesder program come from the national religious community and participate in a five year program, 3 1/2 years in yeshiva and 1 1⁄2 years in the army, usually in a combat unit.