Setting an example: Government ministers exempted from IDF reserve duty still eager to serve

IDF officials decided the risk of government ministers serving in the reserves was too high, but both men have expressed a desire to continue with reserve duty.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) and Minister of Culture and Sports Chili Tropper (Blue and White) were granted exemptions from IDF reserve duty, reported Israel Hayom on Wednesday.

Hendel and Tropper were slated to perform reserve duty in classified and cross-border units.

Major General Moti Almoz called Hendel and Tropper last week, informing them that IDF officials decided that the risk of Israeli government ministers serving in their particular units was too high and they’d been granted exemptions from reserve duty.

In a statement to Israel Hayom, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said, “In light of their roles as government ministers at this time, they will not be invited to active reserve duty service.”

But Hendel and Tropper weren’t happy about the decision. Both men wanted to continue performing their annual reserve duty.

Hendel, a lieutenant-colonel, commands a classified reserve unit that has cross-border capabilities.

“The reserve service is a great privilege,” said Hendel in a statement. “To me, this is the essence of Israeli identity. There is no difference between right and left, religious or secular and rich or poor. I hope that my request for a continued reserve service will be approved by the IDF.”

Hendel’s unit includes reserve soldiers from the most prestigious units in the army, including Tropper’s. Hendel was originally an officer in the elite Shayetet 13 unit, the IDF’s answer to the Navy SEALS, and later served within various Israeli security forces.

After finishing his military service, Hendel moved on to a successful career in communications, working as a publicist, journalist, radio presenter, and head of the Zionist Strategy Institute. He is currently the chairman of the Derech Eretz faction, which broke away from Blue and White in March 2020.

Trooper said in a statement, “Reserve service and protecting the State of Israel is a privilege. I hope that we can find a solution so that I can continue to contribute in this way.”