Torn: IDF reservists to be forced to choose between family and country

Reservists are being thrown from one deployment to the other, barely getting to see their families and tend to their crumbling businesses; You will never hear them complain, but their lives are silently crumbling and government plans to recoup their losses are a like a band-aid to a cancer patient
There's little doubt about the immense dedication IDF reservists are showing when it comes to defending their homeland, and they've done so with no complaints. They know what's at stake, but soldiers are humans with families, and everyone has their breaking point.
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Negev battalion fighters have received authorization to get some home rest after nearly 100 days of active deployment, and already have been summoned for 40 more days of service, either in the Gaza border region or the West bank. Those who are independently employed, have no idea what they'll do regarding their businesses, silently crumbling amid thunderous combat.
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לוחמי חטיבת המילואים "הראל" פשטו על מרחב אלקרמאן ברצועת עזה, השמידו אויב ותשתיות טרור
לוחמי חטיבת המילואים "הראל" פשטו על מרחב אלקרמאן ברצועת עזה, השמידו אויב ותשתיות טרור
Reservists in Gaza
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A battalion commander who spearheaded operations in northern Gaza spoke of a conversation he had with a soldier of his who is a business owner, who spoke to a National Insurance rep: "You're better off unemployed, because at least then the state gives you something," she told him.
"People are nearing their breaking point, mostly small business owners, and instead of the government handing out substantial advances and worrying about intricacies later, like they did during Covid-19, they let them fall through the cracks and rely on donations," he said.
Suffering silently and refusing to protest, reservists take it day-by-day. One of them, eager to fly to the US in order to raise capital for his startup, received authorization, got to the airport with his uniform still on, flew over and them came back right into combat.
Another reservist, deployed in northern Israel since October 7, studies computer science and works in the tech industry. "At work, they understand my situation and they're rooting for me, but they've also been forced to take away a project that was my baby, and this will impact my career. School I've missed will have to be completed at the expense of my off time from reserve duty, assuming I'll have any off time."
Another battalion commander in the south said: "Initially we were at 130% deployment, so we already released the most severe cases home to tend to their families and businesses, but how can others come back with this uncertainty, especially when this could be another year of combat? How are employers supposed to keep someone who is gone all the time?"
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Kids miss their fathers
The battalion commander mentioned that one of his fellow officers, who resides in Metula and had to evacuate his home, expressed the desire to remain with the brigade despite being temporarily discharged. The officer explained, "He has nowhere else to go, so he requested to stay at the headquarters until our next deployment in February, which will be in the Ramallah sector for a duration of 40 days, not the previous three-week period as in the reserve lines.
"Prior to the war, reservists were heavily engaged in the West Bank due to escalating tensions. Some even had two active deployments within a year between 2022 and 2023. The heightened activity began prior to October 7."
The battalion commander expressed concerns about a potential wave of protests and frustration among reservists regarding the issue of equal burden. "Reservists are actually crucial and it's great that the army recognizes this," he said. "This group carries a significant load on their shoulders, and as the dust settles, they begin to realize that they are the ones who are truly sacrificing for the country.
"Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy deserves credit for prioritizing the reserves from the start of his tenure and emphasizing the concept of 'the best for the reserves' to the entire senior command staff. Now, it's important for the government to also recognize this, as we are heading into a demanding year of combat.
"Whatever allocations I had to I immediately utilized for the wounded sector, because we have a duty to support reservists even after discharging them, as some of them are both physically and mentally wounded. I've got 15 soldiers who are shell-shocked and still haven't regained full composure. Commanders also act as sort of 'parents' for the reservists, even if they are younger than they are."
And then comes the uncertainty. As Defense Minister Gallant and Chief of Staff Halevy bemoaned recently, there is no post-war strategy, and that holds true for the northern sector as well, given the Hezbollah threat is entirely different from the one Hamas presents. All of this means we don't know where and for how long each reservist will be deployed."
In an interview with Ynet, a government official spoke of the $2.4 billion reserve support grant, allocating up to $1,050 per soldier, depending on length of deployment and whether they have children. Taking in other factors, like a coupon for a hotel if they live in an evacuated community, this could reach up to $2,400. Except for a business owner, that's pocket change."
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תיעוד מביקור הרמטכ״ל בתרגיל מילואים בצפון
תיעוד מביקור הרמטכ״ל בתרגיל מילואים בצפון
Reservists at the northern border
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A Major is reserve spoke about monetary damages that aren't even counted, as her husband was forced to relinquish two separate engineering projects, totaling $26,500 because he's deployed up north, and has no idea if the state will even deem such a loss as worthy of recuperation. Another Lt. Col. said his wife is a small business owner who has to take care of the kids all alone, losing untold revenue.
All these different testimonies mean the government's plan they say is tantamount to a bad joke, with those who came up with it seemingly unaware of the true overall price of never ending deployments.

Hezbollah price even higher

For those serving up north, things are actually worse, as reservists have been told there's no end in sight for how long they'll be deployed. These are people who have been yanked out of their everyday lives, straight into the horrors of combat against the world's largest terrorist organization, replacing active duty soldiers who were redeployed to Gaza.
A battalion commander said: "Who have 45 days at home after 90 days of deployment, and we're coming back to replace other reservists currently operating in the West Bank who also deserve to go home and be reunited with their families. This requires mental preparation since fighting in Gaza is entirely different than Ramallah or Nablus. This year is shaping up to be quite volatile, both from a combat standpoint as well as a financial one.
IDF Chief of Staff visiting northern border
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
"The government needs to wake up and understand the gravity of everything these reservists are forced to endure. They're protecting their country and need to be equally taken care of by those who have the privilege of never seeing combat. We're nearing the point of no return, where reservists are forced to choose between family and country. This is an issue where we have to be proactive, not reactive."
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