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Brits called up for Israel?

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-07-23

Israeli troops

Israeli troops

Thousands of British people now living in Israel could be called up in the coming weeks as fighting continues between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

For those British who emigrated to Israel and become citizens, those below the age of 30 are waiting to find out if the Israeli government will call on them to protect the county.

SomethingJewish recently spoke with Dovid (not his real name) one British man who has lived in Israel for several years and what he feels about the current situation.

Have you spoken to your British family about what is going on?

I am in very close contact with my family, and obviously they are concerned. As parents and close family would be. They already went through my real service with me being based in Gaza and various other dangerous points in the country. So the reality of what I may be doing is no longer new to them. They also realise that although it may be dangerous things are not exactly as they seem on the news. The news gives people the impression that the whole of Israel is at war and that bombs are exploding everywhere. That is not the case, although the current situation in the Northern parts of Israel is serious, the army and the volunteers working on the ground for Magen David Adom and the emergency rescue are great people with experience and strong hearts. They are doing a fantastic job and I have full faith in them.

How long did you previously spend in the army and what type of service did you do?

I spent a year and eight months in the army. I was in the Armoured Brigade (a member of a tank crew). I went through roughly eight months of intensive training, before moving onto various posts around the country including Gaza and the North where the current situation started.

Until what age can you be called up?

For regular/mandatory service the country will call you up until roughly the age of 27 -30. But your age decides the amount of time your have to give. after something like 23/24 you only have to do 3 months, meaning you will do a quick basic training, i.e. learn how to fire a gun and some basic discipline and then be moved on to some menial job. Certain older olim (22+) decide to volunteer for longer periods of time allowing them to get into the more prestigious combat units.

For miluim (reserve duty) I think you can be called up until the age of 40/50.

Have any of your British friends been called up?

Every reservist does something between 2 weeks to a month every year as part of their regular service. I have had friends from Britain called up for that, but for the current situation, no, not yet. Although my friends and myself included have thought about the reality of it... and small preparations have been made. I have prepared my uniforms and equipment, so that all is ready if the time comes.

Would you consider to volunteer and help out?

If I had been living in the North right now, I definitely would have volunteered to help in any way I could. Obviously making sure my family was safe first. Life has to continue and unfortunately I still have rent to pay. So for right now, I carry on working, waiting and listening to news.