Reserve Duty Can Disrupt Israeli Lives

By 1994, London Observer | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 5, 1995 | Go to article overview

Reserve Duty Can Disrupt Israeli Lives


1994, London Observer, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


In early August 1993, Ofer Hargil found a job as a manager at Airborne Express, a newly established Tel Aviv courier mail service. Less than a month later, Hargil, a 49-year-old reserve combat soldier, was drafted to serve 30 days in the Israeli Defense Force.

When he returned to Tel Aviv, the business was swamped by angry customer complaints and was on the brink of collapse.

"My boss told me that if he'd known I'd have to do 30 days in the reserves instead of working, he wouldn't have hired me. And I don't blame him," says Hargil.

Hargil's plight is not unique. Thousands of other veterans of defense force units complain that their lives and careers are obstructed by the obligation to spend 30, 50 or even 100 days a year under the colors.

Despite the push towards peace, this duty has been increasing in recent months as more reserve combat soldiers have been drafted to guard Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. According to law, every Israeli male under the age of 55 must perform annual reserve military duty, known as miluim.

In reality, most non-combat personnel are forgotten by the Israeli Defense Force soon after completing their compulsory 3-year service. …

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