Photo: Knesset website
Brigadier General Avi Zamir
Photo: Knesset website

IDF Personnel chief calls out gov't over reservists' plight

They serve their country diligently, 'heart and brains of army', often lose jobs due to number of reserve service days - regimental commanders ask government to fulfill promises, support reservists. 'Without these quality officers army can't carry out missions,' says personnel chief

They often serve more than 100 days in the military reserves and their employees aren't pleased. The reserve regiment commanders, the "heart and brains of the army" according to the chief of the Personnel Branch of the IDF, are being fired more and more often, and finding it hard to gain employment.


In a Knesset discussion held Tuesday, Brigadier General Avi Zamir blamed the government for making promises but failing to carry them out. "Last year on Reservists Day the government declared that the employment of reservists would be settled within 60 days," said Zamir at a closed forum meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "But actually, a year has passed and nothing has happened."


According to Zamir, "in recent years the idea of a nation that is the army has changed and with it the way employers act towards reservists. The reservist regiment commanders are often officers, whose average age is over 40, family men, who carry out over 100 reserve days a year. Without these quality officers the army can't carry out its missions."


There may not be any government progress, but Zamir promises that "any regimental commander who is fired will be employed by the IDF for four months so that he has time to get organized and find a new job. We need to create an environment where employers are ashamed to fire reservists while at the same time creating a deterrent against those same employers."


Zamir added that "there are instances where a regiment commander is ashamed to tell his employer what he does. It's a disgrace. Employers should be proud to employ regiment commanders. I can understand that employers have a hard time running a business when an employee disappears for a large number of reserve days which is why an appropriate legislative solution should also be found for employers."


Enlisting society

The group of regiment commanders that took part in the Knesset meeting raised some tough allegations. One officer said that "some very talented reservists leave out the fact that they are officers from their resumes for fear that they won't get the job. Reservist officers don't want to advance within the reservist service because they know that it will increase pressure from employers.


'Heart and brains of army' (Photo: Herzel Yosef)


"You could say that a large number of the regiment commanders are 'parking lot officers' said one commander who then explained the new term: Officers that don't want to come into the office in uniform so as not to deter employers, so they change uniform in the office parking lot."


Electra Director General Yaki Vadmani, who declared his support for reservists and his investment in benefits for reservists promised that he would appeal to 300 major employers to "create a pact for an 'enlisting society' to support reservists. Products produced by these companies will have a stamp, so the public knows that it's purchasing a product from a company that supports reservists."


Knesset Member Miri Regev who chaired the meeting noted that "this is a very difficult reality and if we don't do battle over this, the situation will only get worse and no one will want to become a regimental commander." She added that "the Defense Ministry has plenty of funds to promote solutions."



פרסום ראשון: 03.01.11, 19:36
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