IDF improves service conditions for reservists

Directive from Chief of Staff calls for increased readiness of reservists who are the backbone of the IDF.

IDF soldiers in training  (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF soldiers in training
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF has increased the amount of training for reserve soldiers from five days a year to two weeks, increasing their readiness in case of a sudden conflict.
Due to a directive by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot the army has increased focus on training for reservists, a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post, adding that the increased training will “strengthen the fighters and the cohesion of the units.”
In March during one of the army’s largest planned drills where 2,000 reserve soldiers were called up to simulate war in the Gaza Strip, Eisenkot stated that “we have put preparedness at the top of the IDF’s list of priorities. This is evident from the increased training program.”
While Israel is known for its compulsory draft of 18-year-olds, according to army statistics reservists make up approximately 71% of the IDF’s manpower.
In May the army released figures showing a breakdown of who serves in the reserves whose average age is 32. Tel Aviv contributed the most amount of reservists for a second year in a row with 37,156 (34,182 reservists from Tel Aviv served in 2016) while the numbers in Jerusalem stood at 28,252 (up from the 26,666 in 2016).
While the number of women serving in the reserves continues to increase over the years, men still account for the majority with 83% percent (down from 84% in the previous year). According to army figures the number of reservists who are parents dropped significantly from 2015 to 2016 from 29% to 11%.
As the amount of training has increased so has the incentives for them and their families, the senior officer stated.
“We have understood in recent years that those who are behind the reservist, such as his family, are just as important as they are. We want everyone to support the reservists. They are the backbone of the army,” he said, adding that “everything the IDF gives is not enough for what they do for us.”
In late June a new wage agreement for independent army reservists was signed between the National Insurance Institute, the Defense Ministry and the IDF. The agreement will see the wages of independent army reservists who are self-employed increase by 25% and according to the senior officer the IDF will pay independent reservists back payment from January 2016 until now.
The senior officer also stated that the army has made a new and easy to use website for reservists and in the past year since it became operational the site has seen over 2.59 million clicks.
“It is very important for reservists to be able to access information,” he told the Post, explaining that they can now get all their information, including being called up for duty via email or their personal page on the site.
The senior officer stated that during Operation Protective Edge the army shelled out some NIS 1 million to those who were called up for duty.
During Operation Protective Edge the partners of reservists who were called up also received text messages and other notifications from the army informing them of what they and their partner are entitled to, the senior officer said explaining that the reservist’s partner must be just as well informed.
“All this is critical to supporting the reservists who are invaluable to the army,” he said stressing that “in the end it’s all about the individual. That’s an important aspect that cannot be forgotten.”