Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90

Women make up 17% of the IDF’s reserves, and volunteers make up 11% of the reserve forces, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee learned during a special session on the issue.

About 490,000 Israelis serve in the reserves, constituting 5% of the total citizens of the country, and 17% of the population of service age, between 21 and 40. 120,000 of them are defined as active reserve servicemen, who constitute 4% of the population of service age and one single percent of all citizens of the state.


Brigadier General Amir Vadmani, Head of the Planning Division and Director of Personnel in the IDF who presented the data, stressed that 11% of the reserves are people who continue to carry out the reserve voluntarily, having already passed the age of exemption from service in the reserves.

Data on women in the reserves showed an upward trend in women’s service, an outcome of the regular army in which there is an increase in the service of women in the IDF’s core professions. Vadmani noted that women make up 17% of the reserve force, compared with 13% in 2010. He added that this percentage is expected to continue to grow since women make up 18% of the total regular combat forces in the IDF.

Committee Chairman MK Moshe Tor Paz stated that the active reserve servicemen are a “selected team, and this is how Israeli society should see them.”

“The IDF has an unwritten contract, for the most part, with the reservist. The contract requires the IDF to train the reservist, equip him, respect his time and work, give him military and civilian backing, and be by his side if something God forbid happens to him. This is a contract that is imposed on the IDF, but also on us as a society,” he said.

The reserves provide reinforcements during emergencies such as war, military operations, or disasters, and as a matter of routine course for training, routine security operations and other activities.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.