Israel calls up some reservists to deal with Egypt, Syria threats
It's only six battallions - for now. But as the violence in Syria threatens to spill over into neighboring countries, and Egypt moves closer to outright belligerent status, the Knesset agreed to authorize an additional 16 battalions if they're needed.
The IDF has issued emergency call up orders to six reserve battalions in light of new dangers on the Egyptian and Syrian borders. And the Knesset has given the IDF permission to summon a further 16 reserve battalions if necessary, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
An IDF spokesperson said intelligence assessments called for the deployment of more soldiers. An army statement highlighted last August's infiltration from the Sinai north of Eilat in which eight Israelis were killed, and said the subsequent division of that area into two distinct military zones necessitated additional manpower.
According to 2008′s Reserve Duty Law, combat soldiers can be called for active reserve duty once every three years, and for short training sessions during the other two. Rising tensions between Israel and Egypt and the ongoing unrest in Syria caused the army to ask the Knesset for special permission to call up more soldiers, more often.
The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the request recently, enabling the IDF to summon up to 22 battalions for active duty for the second time in three years. Already, the army has called up six of them.
"This signifies that the IDF regards the Egyptian and Syrian borders as the potential source of a greater threat than in the past," the former deputy chief of staff, Dan Harel, said on Wednesday night.
Israel's immediate neighbors - never friendly and certainly never friends - are becoming a much larger threat with the results of the "Arab Spring" and the Jewish state is simply being realistic in calling up reservists to address the increased danger.