Gantz cancels training for IDF reserves amid battle over defense budget

IDF chief expresses concern for ability of army to remain prepared amid changing threats in the face of defense cuts.

May 19, 2014 21:36
1 minute read.
Gantz IDF

IDF Chief Gantz with soldiers, March 9, 2014.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz announced Monday that all training exercises for reserve soldiers would be canceled until the end of 2014.

The announcement came amid an ongoing budget dispute between the defense establishment and the Finance Ministry.

“The reserves will cease training for a year, in order to give top priority in training to regular service,” Gantz said at a ceremony for outstanding reservists at the Gelilot army base north of Tel Aviv.

Gantz said that the IDF has had to adjust to the numerous changes in the region and to the various threats facing Israel in recent years. Those adjustments involve changes to reserve duty, including a smaller reserve structure.

“National priorities are changing, and with this, unfortunately, decisions dealing with defense are also changing.

As a result of this, we are dealing with a complex resource challenge that we haven’t seen before, and it could have dramatic implications for the IDF,” Gantz said.

Gantz said that the IDF was being forced to make “painful decisions” in all fields, including reserves.

He said that given the cuts to defense, he was concerned with the IDF’s ability to meet its present challenges and “very worried” about its direction going forward.

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