Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced on Monday that army reserve service during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip would be considered “emergency service,” which entitles reservists to postpone various types of payments.
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The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is expected to approve the decision early next week.
Tens of thousands of reservists were called up for the operation, and the emergency service designation will enable them to postpone various payments, including rent and any payment due the government, for up to 30 days after they are demobilized. The one payment that cannot be postponed is child support.
The association of reservists had been pushing for this decision, noting that reserve service during the operation had lasted as long as it did during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, which was defined as emergency service, and longer than either of the two previous operations in Gaza, in 2009 and 2012, which were not.
“There’s no need to waste words on the importance of this decision for reservists at the front,” the association’s attorney, Eyal Nun, wrote in a letter to Ya’alon and other senior government officials two weeks ago — one of the group’s three appeals to the government over this issue during the course of the fighting. “Therefore, it would be appropriate to make the emergency service declaration immediately, with no further delay, in order to prevent legal and other types of damage to reservists serving in Operation Protective Edge.”
Meanwhile, the High Court of Justice will hear a petition today demanding that the government define Operation Protective Edge as a war. The reservists association has filed an amicus brief on the petitioners’ behalf.