Reserve soldiers who serve in the Israel Defense Forces for several weeks every year may find they are no longer eligible for the same pay they got in the past.
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The IDF, which annually publicizes how much it pays its reservists serving more than 10 days a year, has announced that it has changed the payment system for these soldiers.
In the past remuneration was paid on four levels based on the length of reserve duty, with most reservists falling into the third category of serving between 20 and 36.5 days per year. Those soldiers would earn 1.5 tax credits, worth about NIS 3,800, for their time, with the money being deposited directly into their bank accounts.
This year, however, the IDF changed the eligibility criteria for that grant, increasing the number of days required from 20 to more than 27.
IDF officials said that the change was made after Operation Pillar of Defense, when tens of thousands of reservists were called up for service. According to the army, since the number of days of reserve duty increased significantly and the budget allocated to the payment had not been changed, the eligibility criterion was changed, requiring more days of service to receive the grant. In this way, the days of Operation Pillar of Defense no longer counted toward eligibility for receiving the remuneration and adversely affected the soldiers who were mobilized for the operation.
Reservists in combat units, whose reserve duty usually includes one military operation or complex training session per year, usually serve between 20 and 36.5 days and find themselves on this third level of payment. Combat reservists and low-ranking officers are the most affected by the change, receiving a significantly lower amount of money — about one-third, or NIS 1,500, less than what they had received last year.
Some reservists have already started a protest page on Facebook. Others, who spoke with Haaretz, expressed anger over the decision.