Defense establishment infuriated by committee votes on IDF service length

Shaked C'tee's decision to shorten men's service, not increase women's service a sore point; Ya'alon to seek revote.

Yaalon at IDF Home Front Command’s base 370 (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Yaalon at IDF Home Front Command’s base 370
(photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Security sources have expressed anger over the result of a vote taken by the Knesset’s Shaked Committee on Monday, and criticism is being heard in senior defense establishment circles over the way the committee has conducted itself.
The fact that the Shaked Committee, whose full name is the Special Committee for the Equal Sharing of the Burden Bill, voted to cut men’s military service (except for those in combat roles) by four months, to 32, but failed to increase the service time of female soldiers from 24 months, is a sore point in the eyes of the defense establishment.
As a result, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will seek a revote within the committee, following his return from the Singapore Air Show next week.
The military saw the two measures – decreasing men’s service by four months and increasing the service of women by the same time – as a package deal.
“You can’t do one without the other, it creates a gap,” a defense source said, adding that the defense establishment is beginning to lose patience with the chaotic manner the committee is operating.
The IDF and the defense establishment have taken many steps to prepare for reforms since the Perry Committee (the Knesset Committee for Promoting Equal Share of the Burden), published its conclusions and submitted a draft bill in July 2013, but the Shaked Committee is now altering these and “dragging out” the process, sources charged.
Senior members of defense establishment believe the army is being mocked through the conduct of the latter committee.
The IDF took preparatory steps for changes over the past six months based on the understanding that men’s service will be shortened and women’s service lengthened.
“This is a dramatic change, requiring fundamental preparations,” a source said. Now, that understanding is at risk.
A source close to the defense minister said that what took place in the Shaked Committee on Monday was in stark contradiction to the Perry Committee’s conclusions.
“Instead of taking decisions by the Perry Committee as they are, this story is being dragged out for months, and past conclusions are being torn apart. It has become like a market, and this isn’t the way to run things,” the sources said.
All sides in the Shaked Committee “are trying to pull things in their directions...
there is no end to it. Ultimately, there is a state to manage, and a military that has to lead responsibly and with sound judgment. This isn’t a game,” the source added.