reservists 298.88 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Many people think Kineret is crazy. An Israeli expatriate who lives in Boston, Kineret comes to Israel every year to serve in the IDF reserves, sometimes for 30 days at a time.
Someone has to do it, she answers, even when it means crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Kineret, who asked that her last name be kept private, serves in the Central Command's Hatikva Battalion, a unit of reservists ranging in age from 30 to 70 who report every year to replace compulsory-service soldiers patrolling and performing guard duty in the West Bank.
Living in Boston for the past six years and working with Jewish communities there, Kineret admits that reserve duty is not usually the first thing on her mind. But her disappointment with low rate of service by Israelis and the fact that a mere 90,000 citizens regularly serve in the reserves compels her to return every year.
Her unit patrols the Green Line, and staffs checkpoints and crossings near large West Bank cities like Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin. Most years, Kineret is called up for 13 days of service, including two days of training.
This year, due to the reorganization of her unit, she served 30 days, with a short break.
"I don't do this for the money," Kineret says, "but rather for the fulfillment and the knowledge that my little contribution can make a difference, even if just by making things a little easier for soldiers in their compulsory service."
Back in Boston, Kineret says some people think she is crazy and fail to understand what is pushing her to come to Israel, don her old green uniform, sling a rifle over her shoulder and join the IDF. But her craziness has paid off. A few years ago, she met two Israeli men who had moved to the US decades ago, and inspired them.
"They now also come back to Israel to serve in the reserves every year," she says. "And soon their children will be coming to do their compulsory service."
Kineret says that financially, it is difficult to take off so much time from work, but that she derives satisfaction from the appreciation she receives throughout the army.
"I come here out of Zionism, patriotism and to feel like I am still part of this country," she says. "By being here, I lose money and miss out on opportunities to advance at work, but in the end it is worthwhile."