Compulsory military service, with alternatives:
Secular Jews are drafted at age 18 males for three years, females for two so military service is a rite of passage. Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Christians (a quarter of Israel's citizens) are exempt, but a majority of Israelis, including most Arabs, support expanding national civilian or military service for everyone.
Half of the 180,000 men drafted each year opt out in favor of noncombat military work, civilian service or foreign development. Hospitals and charities that rely on conscripts defeated a government proposal in 2004 to end the draft. Volunteering abroad is increasingly popular; Austria and Denmark also offer this option.
Males over 18 must serve two years, but substitutions for combat include policing, firefighting and environmental work. The Diplomatic Alternative Service Program sends Taiwanese men to work in medicine, agriculture and technology in countries like Chad and Macedonia. The government considers them goodwill ambassadors.
Nonmilitary compulsory service programs:
Using an annual lottery, the government selects 85,000 recent high school grads for a three-month camp with military-style physical training and community service. Each group has 60% ethnic Malays, 28% Chinese, 10% Indians and 2% others a mirror of Malaysia's makeup to promote patriotism and racial harmony.
The National Youth Service Corps, a one-year commitment for college grads under 30, fosters economic development, ethnic tolerance and educational equality by sending young people to work outside their home states. Without the program, many areas would lack teachers, engineers, doctors, pharmacists and accountants.
Before being certified to practice, junior-level doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists, clinical psychologists and dietitians must spend a year working in poor areas. The country is considering expanding the requirement to lawyers and other professionals, as Mexico does.