IDF reservists angry over being pulled from Gaza battlefields

Many fear that Israel is once again allowing Washington to set its war policies, and that Hamas will survive as a result.

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Israelis reservists don't want to go home until the job is finished. Otherwise, their families will never be safe. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Israelis reservists don't want to go home until the job is finished. Otherwise, their families will never be safe. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90

October 7 awoke in Israel a fighting spirit the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Yom Kippur War. It’s not easy for such a large percentage of the population to drop everything, leave families and go to war. And many have paid the ultimate price on the battlefields of Gaza, leaving hundreds of grieving and broken families.

Even so, many IDF reservists are upset about being released to return home before the job is finished. If Hamas is not defeated, a worse tragedy awaits their families and the nation in the near future.

Victory was promised, and they are determined to remain in the muck and mud of Gaza, bleeding and dying as necessary until the Hamas threat is no more.

Anything less would be a victory for Hamas, and all but guarantee the next major terrorist assault.

“The fighting spirit here remains very high. We rallied to the flag, and we remain dedicated to the mission,” a reserve officer named Uri told Channel 12 when asked if the long tour of duty in Gaza had taken its toll on the men, especially those who had to leave wives, children and jobs.

“This is one of the most just wars in the history of the State of Israel. It is clear to us all what we are doing here, and why we are here,” continued Uri.

Hadar, a female battlefield communications officer, said the only thing from home she thinks about is her son, Gefen. Otherwise, she is entirely focused on the mission. “Gefen, I love you. We are out here, protecting you.”

How long are you all willing to stay here, the reporters asked a group of reservists. “As long as we need to be,” they all shouted without reservation.

“We are here for the duration, to make sure October 7 never happens again,” stressed Sgt. Elyakim Brenner. “And we ask you [in the media] to take our voices to our leaders to influence them, to let them know we are here until the mission is accomplished.”

Sgt. Noam added to his comrade’s call: “We are full of courage. We are full of fighting spirit. We can get the job done. We need you all to hear our voice. We know that people wake up every morning and hear the latest names [of fallen soldiers]. But they don’t hear our voice, a voice of courage, a voice of action. And we want to hear that voice coming back at us [from the home front].”

In recent days, a number of reservists frustrated at being released drove out of Gaza with banners attached to their jeeps reading: “We were released without subduing [the enemy].”

In a jab at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Hebrew letter lamed in “lehacria” [“to subdue”] was styled in a font similar to that in the Likud Party logo.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced last week that the phase of intensive fighting in Gaza had come to a close, and in apparent compliance with American demands, Israel would shift to more low-intensity and targeted raids against specific Hamas targets.

A growing number of reservists feel that Israel is once again allowing Washington to set its war policy, and pulling back long before Hamas has actually been defeated.