The IDF is commonly seen as one of the most powerful armies in the world due to the fact that there is a required service that most of the country obliges to. However, it is actually the miluim (reserves)that are the main force in the army. With yearly training and drills, the IDF’s largest faction of the army, miluim, stays in-shape and ready for any emergency or war that might spring up around Israel’s borders. Here are some facts and information about the IDF miluim:
- All men who served in regular/required service, regardless of time, serve in miluim(barring health restrictions). They will serve until the age of 45.
- Women who were either combat soldiers, officers, or other specific jobs in their regular/required service also serve in miluim. All other women who served in the army can do miluim voluntarily.
- The average amount of time one spends in miluim each year is between 20-30 days. This includes fighting and health training and actual activities like normal soldiers perform (i.e. border control, guarding). However, each unit can change how many days a soldier needs to train each year, it simply depends on demand and activity.
- More often than not, you will do the same job you had from your regular/required service. First and foremoest, you are assigned to a unit the day you get out of the army and you will be assigned an interview date with your future officers. After having this interview, you will begin to receive dates for when to report to miluim and assigned to a more specific unit/company. From that moment on, you will be mostly in touch with your ktzinat kishur (Officer of Connections), who is responsible for making sure you get your draft assignments, everything is organized with payments, etc.
- One can still advance in ranks in miluim. Even if you got out of the army at the level of samal(sergeant), in some cases you may be sent to an officers course if your unit has a void in that position. In addition, with time, you advance ranks.
- The country still gives many rights to a soldier who is serving in miluim. For example, some universities give class credits if a student needs to go to his/her service during his/her studies. Also, the paycheck one receives is equal to the saraly that the soldier had up to 3 months preceeding one’s draft into miluim. If the incoming miluim soldier wasn’t working 3 months prior to his/her draft, then he/she will receive minimum wage for his/her time in miluim.
Overall, in the beginning, miluim can be both confusing and hard because usually you come from your normal life of being a waiter, student, or even a parent and suddenly you are pushed back into the world of the army, training and not seeing your home for days at a time. However, in the end, miluimbecomes a fun, learning experience, and one where you get to re-connect with friends and take a break from the real world that is back at home.
For more information about miluim and special offers for soldiers in miluim, check out the organization Behatsda’a