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IDF reservists
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Government yet to give reservists benefits it promised
The government decided in May 2016 to increase benefits to reservists, but a report by the Citizen's Empowerment Center in Israel reveals that, due of bureaucracy, some of the main planned benefits—exemptions from some legal fees and discounts in municipal taxes—were not implemented.

The Israeli government has yet to implement a significant portion of a benefits plan for IDF reservists, according to a report by the Citizen's Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI).

 

 

The CECI, an organization that deals with improving the efficiency of government and public sector procedures, examined the implementation of the government's decision from May 2016 to increase benefits to reservists.

 

The government decision included a change in the definition of a 'reserve soldier' to include anyone who has served at least 20 days of reserve duty in the last three years.

 

IDF reservists (Photo: DF)
IDF reservists (Photo: DF)

 

In December 2016, a committee of directors-general from relevant government ministries convened to formulate a benefits plan for soldiers, which was approved by the government in April 2017.

 

CECI found many of the decisions detailed in the approved plan have not been implemented.

 

For example, the decision to give reservists in active service a discount of up to five percent in municipal taxes never went into effect. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri issued a directive to his ministry on the topic, and the government decided to amend regulations to include that discount, but it did not happen.

 

Another decision to better accommodate university students who are called up for reserve duty during times of emergency was also not implemented. Minister of Education Naftali Bennett was supposed to instruct the Council for Higher Education to examine the need to establish special accommodations for reservist students. While discussions on the topic did take place, a final decision has not been made.

 

Another important benefit that never came to be was an exemption from paying some fees to the Justice Ministry. This includes fees for registering a mortgage for one's first apartment, fees for legal aid from public defenders, and fees under the Audit Regulations, among others. This exemption was supposed to have already come into effect, but according to the report it is still under examination at the Justice Ministry.

 

Photo: IDF
Photo: IDF

 

Meanwhile, some benefit plans have been implemented, including the Perach scholarship for reserve soldiers, which pairs up children from underprivileged backgrounds with university students who act as their tutors. An active tutor who also did at least 10 days of reserve duty a year will be entitled to a grant worth 50 percent of the scholarship—some NIS 2,600—in addition to the scholarship itself. 

 

Another decision to extend the period of aid offered to released soldiers by the Fund for Guiding the Discharged Soldiers was also implemented.

 

The Interior Ministry said in response to the report, "The government has changed the wording of the instructions to the interior minister since the decision passed. The last change in the government's guidelines was a few months ago, and the ministry is currently working on amending the municipal tax regulations accordingly."

 

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