IDF reserve soldiers drill 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
The IDF decreased the yearly grants it allocates to reserve soldiers, sparking criticism on Wednesday. The change came following a budget-breaking call-up of combat reserve soldiers during Operation Pillar of Defense last year.
Soldiers qualify for one of four re-compensation categories, according to the number of days served in the reserves.
The IDF Spokesman Unit said the sums earmarked for reserve soldiers remain at 300 million shekels per year. However, due to high call up of soldiers this year, "more reserve days will have to be fulfilled" to qualify for the same sums in 2013.
An army source added that a special reserves budget determines the extent of changes to funding programs.
"The larger the budget... the more it will be possible to re-compensate the reserves without changes," the source said.
A spokesman from Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett's office, said that Bennett had requested an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Binyanim Netanyahu to discuss the reserves' grants.
"I don't agree with this decision which will cause hardships on the reservists that fought during Pillar of Defense," Bennett said, "the will to be drafted into the army is the back-bone of our economy, even during difficult financial times."
Bennett added that he will demand that Netanyahu find room in the budget to cover the reservists' grants or he will personally work towards finding a solution to the problem.