Female reservists called up in unprecedented numbers

Soldiers of the Karakal battalion, which is made up of male and female combat soldiers fighting side by side, November 2007. (Photo by Yoni Markovitzki/IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Soldiers of the Karakal battalion, which is made up of male and female combat soldiers fighting side by side, November 2007. (Photo by Yoni Markovitzki/IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Operation Protective Edge poses unique challenges to the thousands of female reservists, among them pregnant women and mothers

(SOURCE)  Some 60,000 IDF reservists have been called up to serve in Operation Protective Edge so far. Many are parents leaving families behind at home – but not all are fathers.

According to the IDF Spokesman who would not release exact figures, the thousands of women currently serving in reserves are a higher percentage than in any previous IDF operation. They serve in a variety of capacities, but especially in combat support in the Home Front Command, Intelligence, the Air Force and field operations.

 While it is never easy for anyone to drop everything and leave home, receiving a “tzav 8,” an emergency call to service, poses unique challenges to the currently active female reservists, among them pregnant women and mothers.

“I try to get my girls to go to bed first, otherwise they cry,” says Captain (res.) Lee Betser, who has left her home in Tzur Yitzhak every night for the past two weeks to perform her duties with search and rescue battalions of the IDF Home Front Command.

A financial comptroller in a large company, the mother of two daughters ages four and 11, and stepmother to three older children, Betser feels an obligation to do whatever she can for her country. As a mother, she is technically exempt from military reserve duty, but she insists on volunteering.

“It’s not enough to sit at home at a time like this,” Betser, 36, says. “What I am doing is the most important thing I could be doing now, and I will continue to do it. I will continue to do reserve duty for as long as they let me.”

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