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Defense Ministry proposes increased benefits for IDF reservists

Funding is to be 15 times the current budget.

IDF reservists sleep near armored personnel carriers at the Gaza border, on the eighth day of “Operation Protective Edge,” July 15, 2014. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.
IDF reservists sleep near armored personnel carriers at the Gaza border, on the eighth day of “Operation Protective Edge,” July 15, 2014. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, on Sunday announced a major expansion of discounts and benefits for reservists and their families.

The new program in the amount of 200 million shekels ($55 million) is 15 times the current budget. It is expected to be approved after the passage of the state budget in May, by a committee of ministers on June 5 and by the Cabinet on June 11.

Gallant said that the plan would benefit 133,000 active IDF reservists instead of the current focus on around 1,500 senior reservist commanders.

The new benefits are to include a doubling of the budget to 32 million shekels ($9 million) for entertainment and goods; partial subsidies for summer camps for children, with 1,500 shekels ($414) available per family; and discounts on electricity bills, up from 5% to 15%; and on property tax from 0% to 10%.

“The goal is to correct a historical injustice, reward those who serve and give them more. We are making dramatic changes,” Gallant said.

This move comes as many reservists have threatened to not show up for duty in protest of the government’s judicial reform initiative, while other reserve officers have pledged to leave politics out of it.

Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar reportedly said last month in a closed-door meeting with senior staff that reservists who don’t show up for duty in protest against the government’s judicial reform will be dismissed.

Some 6,000 IDF reservists in March signed a petition saying that they will continue to serve.

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