Reservists in Judea-Samaria Prepare for Long-Term Deployment
Reserve units who have been called up to replace security forces normally serving in Judea and Samaria during Operation Protective Edge have prepared to stay for the long haul, according to a senior IDF officer.
Lt. Colonel Yishai Gertler, a former infantry battalion commander who serves in the Ramallah area, told Arutz Sheva Friday that combat soldiers have received emergency stores with new and advanced equipment - and motivation is sky-high.
"The battalion was drafted very fast, we were here for two days before the war," Lt. Col. Gertler said, noting that emergency equipment was all that was available and that soldiers were still scrambling to get organized. Many of the soldiers have never dealt with this type of security situation before.
"This time, we have new equipment - quality equipment," he continued. "We have learned a lot, and the level of absorption of these new lessons is surprising."
Over 97% of reserve soldiers have showed up for reserve duty; of the 3%, most are simply abroad, according to the officer. Many are younger soldiers, but all ages are represented, up to age 45.
"Everyone understands that everyone must show up for this mission, that we work as an army of one," he added. "They [the soldiers reservists are replacing - ed.] are operating in the South and we will operate in this sector."
Lt. Col. Gertler also summarized events over Ramadan, during which the IDF was ordered to keep the peace admit a flurry of violent protests and uprisings protesting the operation.
"We were able to contain all [security] events," he said. "The IDF allowed the Palestinians to demonstrate here and there, but instead of unrest spreading, our forces have stopped the phenomenon."
"[In Judea and Samaria], residents can now move safely on the roads and go on with their lives."
The secret to high motivation, he said, is a strong home front.
"As long as they need us we will be here," he said, noting that "families and employers are very encouraging."
"We also have the incredible support of the Jewish communities themselves and the Binyamin Regional Council, as both have sent countless packages of food and toiletries to us from across the country."