IDF announces plans to increase service time for conscripts and reservists

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Illustrative: An ultra-Orthodox man walks outside the army recruitment office in Jerusalem, July 2, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ Flash90)
Illustrative: An ultra-Orthodox man walks outside the army recruitment office in Jerusalem, July 2, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ Flash90)

The IDF is planning to increase the amount of time conscripts and reservists serve in the military, as it prepares for a long war in the Gaza Strip and works to bolster its personnel for future challenges.

The planned changes to the security service and reserve service laws, which will need to be approved by lawmakers, include returning male mandatory army service to three years, as it had been until 2015.

Currently, male recruits serve 32 months, while women serve for two years.

Under the planned changes, female soldiers in combat and other special roles will also serve for 36 months.

The IDF also plans to raise the age for retirement from reserve duty.

Currently, soldiers can bow out at 40, officers at 45, and special roles, including positions like drivers, at 49.

Under the IDF’s plans, the age of retirement from reserve duty for soldiers would increase to 45, officers to 50, and special roles to 52.

The amount of time required by reservists to serve per year will also change.

According to plans, soldiers, who are currently required to serve 54 days in reserves within three years, will serve instead 42 days per year; commanders who are not officers, who serve 70 days within three years, will serve 48 days a year; and officers, who serve 84 days within three years, will serve 55 days a year.

The IDF also plans to increase the number of days in a row reservists serve in “operational activity,” from 25 days to 40.

As part of the changes, the IDF also plans to give additional compensation to reservists in combat and other frontline roles.

Amid the war in the Gaza Strip, the IDF has called up a total of 287,000 reservists, although many of them have already been released from duty for now. It marked the largest-ever call-up of reservists in Israel’s history.

Many conscript troops have finished their mandatory service amid the war and have continued seamlessly as reservists.

The IDF says the planned changes will allow the military to better build up its forces for the developing challenges it faces, and be able to complete its missions with a larger pool of reservists.

The changes will increase the number of active duty reservists five-fold in comparison to 2023, according to the IDF’s estimates.

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