Patrol in Gush Etzion
Patrol in Gush Etzion Gershon Elinson/FLASH90

Despite the elevated security threat, it appears that the IDF has begun to limit the ability of reserve soldiers to train with local security forces across Judea and Samaria.

Local emergency response squads are a major component of town security in Judea and Samaria.

These teams, made up primarily of volunteers, train together with soldiers, preparing them for potential terrorist infiltrations. Reserve soldiers living in the communities are frequently involved in such training activities, and up until now, were almost always given permission by the army to participate.

“In the past the regional division would ask the reservist’s original unit to ‘lend’ the soldier for a day or several days of [training] with a local response team, and the request would be approved,” a reserve soldier from Samaria told Mekor Rishon.

“We volunteer for this position [in the emergency response teams] and are armed, but it’s not always easy. We go out to [security] incidents, leaving our families alone, for example when there’s a suspected infiltration into the town, and that’s not easy.”

Today, however, reserve units are increasingly turning down requests to work with local security teams.

“I’ve done this more than once in the past,” said the reserve soldier. “A request would be put in, and then approved without any problems, but now I’ve found that all of the sudden my unit allow it.”

While the army claims that requests to participate in local security training sessions is due to concerns that they could interfere with the soldiers’ regular operations in their original unit, some reservists claim this was never an issue in the past, and that despite their involvement with local security teams, they reported to every call up.

Army officials claimed that the issue was being evaluated by the IDF’s human resources department.