25 December 2023
Lack of government assistance leaves reservists financially devastated
The ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has taken a heavy toll on reservist soldiers who left their businesses behind to respond to mobilization orders. Many of these soldiers have returned to find their businesses in ruins, as a lack of government assistance has left them financially devastated. Despite the allocation of special funds to support these businesses, many reservists are still struggling to receive the help they desperately need. The Knesset Finance Committee heard testimonies from reservists who shared their stories of economic collapse and demanded answers from government representatives.
1: Businesses collapse due to lack of government assistance
Reservists who are business owners have faced significant financial hardships as their untended enterprises have fallen into debt or crashed entirely. While reservists are paid a salary for their time serving, this has proven insufficient for business owners who had to leave their businesses unattended. Despite the allocation of special funds to support these businesses, many reservists have not received the assistance they were promised. This lack of government support has resulted in the collapse of numerous businesses, leaving reservists in dire financial straits.
2: Delayed assistance requests and unanswered pleas
The Knesset Finance Committee heard testimonies from reservists who have been unable to file requests for assistance while serving in Gaza. Others have submitted requests but have yet to receive any answers or support. Lior Moshayev, a supermarket owner from Beersheba, shared his dire situation with the committee. He expressed fear about swiping his credit card to buy essential items for his daughter and revealed that his refrigerator was empty. Moshayev, who had risked his life in the war, questioned why he and others had not received the financial support they were entitled to.
3: Overwhelming number of claims and government response
Over 360,000 Israelis were called up for reserve duty in response to Hamas’s assault in October. In response to the financial aftershocks faced by reservists and their families, the Knesset approved a wartime compensation package worth an estimated NIS 15 billion ($3.9 billion) to help businesses continue operating. However, the Tax Authority representative acknowledged that there have been errors and cases of people falling through the cracks. While the government has paid out a total of NIS 3.75 billion ($1 billion) so far, there is still work to be done to ensure all claims are handled successfully.
4: Calls for government action and opposition response
The emergency compensation regulations, passed for a 90-day period, have not yet been extended, causing further uncertainty for reservists. The chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni, demanded that the relevant regulations be updated and approved promptly to address the urgent needs of reservists. Opposition Leader Yair Lapid criticized the government for its lack of support for reservists and called for a comprehensive program to better assist them. Lapid’s proposal includes increased compensation, job protection, and property tax relief for employers of reservist soldiers.
The ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has had severe financial consequences for reservist soldiers who left their businesses behind to serve their country. The lack of government assistance has left many reservists struggling to keep their businesses afloat, leading to economic collapse and personal hardships. While some funds have been allocated to support these businesses, many reservists have not received the help they desperately need. The government must act swiftly to address the concerns raised by reservists and ensure that all claims for assistance are handled promptly and efficiently. Reservists, who represent the productive power of the country, deserve better support and recognition for their sacrifices.