The 134th Battalion on reserve duty.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Around 40 representatives of various ministries convened last week with Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan to prepare a series of government decisions in favor of increasing benefits to Israelis serving in the reserves.
Among the issues approved by the ministers was to give reservists who are studying and called up for duty special examination dates, or alternatively to allow them to take their certification exam in fields such as medicine, accounting, pharmacy and law at a later date.
The ministers also agreed to raise by 50% the stipend for reservists who are volunteering with the Perach program, for which they receive either a scholarship or academic credits for being paired with children from low-income backgrounds.
Ben-Dahan told The Jerusalem Post
that in addition to all the recommendations for reservists, which would also apply to their wives, “a woman whose husband is in the reserves will be allowed to work one hour less to give her the ability to pick up her children from school.”
While men account for 84% of reservists, the number of women serving in the reserves has increased over the years, and according to the army parents accounted for 40.5% of the total number of reservists who served more than three days in 2015, more than their counterparts with no children.
In addition, if reservists are called up for an emergency situation, such as war, they would be able to get an extension on payments to the government for something as small as a parking ticket. According to Ben-Dahan, the possibility of giving reservists a reduction on municipal taxes has also been discussed.
The bill is expected to become law by early 2017.
Last week Education Minister Naftali Bennett posted on his Facebook page that Ben-Dahan “is changing the status quo for reservists who do not receive sufficient recognition and appreciation from the state.”
“I want to congratulate Rabbi Ben-Dahan on the initiative and call on ministers to approve the additional measures in favor of the reservists and their families,” Bennett wrote.
In October, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced that a special committee with representatives from the Defense Ministry, the IDF, the Finance Ministry and the National Insurance Institute approved a budget of NIS 30 million to increase reimbursement payments to self-employed IDF reservists.
Until then, business owners who served in the reserves were reimbursed according to their average monthly earnings, but with the new budget, they would receive an additional 25% for time spent in military service.
“Reservists are really the backbone of the army,” Ben-Dahan told the Post
, adding that “it’s not simple for someone to just pick up and for a month at a time leave everything to serve in the reserves to protect the State of Israel.”