Appreciation: In memory of Michael Levin

Families concerned reservists haven't been properly trained.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
August 3, 2006 00:43
2 minute read.
Appreciation: In memory of Michael Levin

michael levin soldier 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Troops called up for reserve duty haven't been properly trained for the positions they are filling in Lebanon, some of their wives and mothers are charging. They are worried that their husbands and sons have spent years fulfilling tasks such as guard duty and patrols but are not prepared for the combat situations they are being placed in after a few days of brushing up. "They feel they don't have the tools, the knowledge, the ability to go into Lebanon," said Yifat, a mother of two young children, whose husband has been called up. "All these years in the reserves they do 'x' and now they have to do 'y,' but they don't have the ability to do it." Yifat, who asked that her last name not be used because of the sensitivity of the subject, alleged that the army was pushing men hastily into battle because of political considerations. "The army is very anxious to go in and finish it, but we're talking about [soldiers] who have families," she said. While Yifat stressed that she and other worried spouses supported the decision to attack Hizbullah, she explained that they wanted it done "in a considered fashion... give the best equipment and give the soldiers assignments that they are trained to do." She has started a campaign by contacting the media and MKs so that the government will be "aware" of this concern before making its decisions. She said she succeeded in talking to a few parliamentary aides, but their responses were less than encouraging. "I got political answers - that war isn't clean," she reported. "This isn't an answer that really warms my heart." The IDF defended its actions by saying that those units called up were chosen by what one army official called "a process of careful and selective decision-making" and he said they were "well-trained for such scenarios." "The units that are actively participating in combat have been trained for exactly this type of [warfare] and are better prepared than the others," he said, adding that proper readiness is a function of both training and mental disposition. "Mentally, they are prepared to fight," he said. "It appears that motivation is high among the soldiers and there is great willingness to contribute." MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), however, said the IDF hadn't properly trained its reservists. "Our reserve divisions were not training in the last three years because of budget cuts and because they were needed to confront the Palestinian uprising," he said. But he stressed that it was still appropriate that they been sent to Lebanon. "It's a time of war and we have no choice but to throw them into battle," said the former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "This a a time of emergency," he said, pointing to the hundreds of thousands of Israelis affected by missile attacks, as well as the economy. "We cannot waste a week or two" for more training. Other wives and parents have also appeared in the media pressing the same issue. Yifat said she had been consumed with her concerns since her husband was called up. "There's too much pressure, and people can pay with their lives," she said. "It's scary."

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