IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz commented Monday for the first time on the growing financial crisis faced by the Israeli defense establishment, and announced that in light of the budgetary woes, the IDF will halt all planned training for its reserve soldiers.
“As of now our plans for the reservists in the next year will not take place. Reservists will stop training in the next year to give precedence to the training of (regular) soldiers,” Gantz said at a ceremony honoring reserve soldiers held at the Glilot base.
The IDF claims to be facing an unprecedented financial crisis, and as a result has canceled a number of training operations recently; but the claims have been questioned by the Finance Ministry.
Speaking at the event, Gantz adumbrated on the change in the IDF’s training plan, and warned of the dangerous implications it could have: “We planned a small and specialized reserve formation plan in line with the IDF’s operations outlook. (But) national priorities change and with it decisions taken in the past, and this could have dramatic consequences.
“We will not give up and we will bring this to the attention of decision makers. I will not allow soldiers to be the hostages of the argument (regarding the budget), or allow them to use as bargaining chips.”
Reservists present at the event slammed the drop in training – which serves as an additional source of income for many Israelis – and a senior commander confirmed that cancelation notices for the next two months have already been sent out.
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