The joining of thousands of foreigners in the Israeli army in the war in Gaza has caused widespread controversy in Western countries. The Israeli Defense Law sets the conditions and standards for service in the military.
According to Israel's Defense Law, military service is mandatory for all Israelis, even those with dual citizenship who are permanently abroad, as well as so-called “lone soldiers” who do not have families.
With the start of the Gaza war on October 7, the Israeli army called up hundreds of thousands of reservists, including those permanently residing abroad.
Military service is compulsory for everyone
On November 30, the Israeli Embassy in the British capital of London stated on its website: “According to the Israel Security Service Law, all Israeli citizens in Israel and abroad must enlist in the army, even if they have dual citizenship and reside abroad permanently.” .
She added: “Israelis living abroad must apply to determine their military status when they reach the age of 16 years and 4 months and before they turn 19.”
The embassy has asked Israelis who want to enlist to contact Israeli military representatives in Europe via email.
Military service is compulsory in Israel for men and women at the age of 18, after which soldiers are assigned to reserve units.
Foreigners participating in the war in Gaza
The participation of foreign citizens with Israeli citizenship in the war in the Gaza Strip has provoked reactions in France and South Africa in recent days.
French MP Thomas Portet said this in a tweet on the website.
He added: “In the event that war crimes are committed, I ask that they (the French) be brought before French justice and I will also refer the matter to the public prosecutor through Article 40.”
The MP continued: “Given the war crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank, it is unacceptable for French citizens to take part in them.
As for South Africa, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” by reports that some Israeli soldiers, who are also South African citizens, have joined the Israeli army to fight in Gaza or are considering doing so.
The ministry continued: “Such a measure would likely contribute to the violation of international law and the commission of other international crimes, leaving them vulnerable to prosecution in the country.”
The Foreign Office explained that South African citizens need prior government approval to legally fight in Israel.
She added that naturalized Israeli citizens are at risk of being stripped of their South African citizenship because of their involvement in a war that “the country does not support or condone”.
What about “lone soldiers”?
The Hebrew newspaper Haaretz reported on Wednesday: “According to the Israeli military, 2,507 new immigrants entered the Israeli army as single soldiers or soldiers who do not live with their families in 2021, including 59 from South Africa.
She added: “This does not include all Israeli soldiers who hold dual citizenship from South Africa,” without specifying them.
In Israeli law, there is no obligation to renounce Israeli citizenship when acquiring another nationality, as citizens can acquire dual citizenship, and even multiple nationalities.
Israel announced the call-up of 360,000 reserve troops at the start of the war, without specifying how many were coming from abroad.
So-called “lone soldiers” who volunteer to join the Israeli army without having family in Israel join the army.
The Lone Soldier Center stated on its website: “A lone soldier is an army soldier who has no family in Israel to support him: a new immigrant, a volunteer from abroad, an orphan, or a member of a broken home.
How many lone soldiers?
The center added that “more than 7,000 Lone Soldiers are currently serving in the Israeli army, of which about 45% are new immigrants, coming from Jewish communities around the world, and 50% are Israelis who are orphans or come from a low social status . and economic background.”
The center noted: “There are some who come from extremist religious neighborhoods and are shunned by their families and communities because they chose to join the military.”
He continued: “Most lone soldiers are assigned to combat units, they are highly motivated to serve in the Israeli army and guard Israel's borders on land, air and sea.”
“For lone soldiers, money becomes a major problem,” he noted.
“A lone soldier's monthly salary is double what the average soldier in his unit earns, but it is still often not enough to pay bills, do laundry, pay for furniture and household appliances, and buy food for the Sabbath (Jewish religious holiday),” he said.
He added: “The army subsidizes the rent up to 1,048 shekels per month ($283), but it is not enough to start a house in Israel.
Abu Ubaida: Since the beginning of the ground aggression in Gaza, we have targeted 720 Israeli military vehicles
A military spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, said: “Our mujahideen have destroyed dozens of enemy military vehicles over the past week,” adding that “the total number of military vehicles we have targeted since the beginning of the ground aggression has reached 720 vehicles.” “
Al-Qassam Brigades military spokesman Abu Ubaida announced on Thursday that 720 Israeli military vehicles had been targeted since the “ground aggression” in the Gaza Strip began on October 27.
In a recorded audio speech, Abu Ubaida added: “Our mujahideen have destroyed dozens of enemy military vehicles over the past week,” adding that “the total number of military vehicles we have targeted since the beginning of the ground aggression has reached 720 vehicles.” The results of our targeting fluctuated between complete destruction and partial damage.”
A spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades said: “Our mujahideen are still in the field, facing the enemy and inflicting casualties on its soldiers, officers and vehicles,” adding that “the massive military support the enemy is receiving only indicates its weakness.” “
Abu Ubaida emphasized that “the enemy's army today is busy looking for an image of victory and success. That is why it celebrates the discovery of an old tunnel that is out of order or the bombing of an expired missile launcher.”
A spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigade said in this regard: “After committing massacres and crimes against our people, our enemy has left us no other option than to take revenge on him and make him pay the price.
He continued: “After 76 days of barbaric aggression against Gaza, our enemy is still committing war crimes recorded in his name in history.”
He believed that “the enemy's aim to eliminate resistance is doomed to failure” because “it has become an indisputable fact”.
As for talk of Israel expressing its readiness for the possibility of reaching a new prisoner exchange deal with Palestinian factions, Abu Ubaida said “there is no way for the enemy to get their prisoners back, other than exchange after the end of the aggression.”
He concluded: “We salute our defiant people in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. We salute our nation's fighters who are confusing the enemy, especially on the front lines in Yemen and Lebanon.”
Since last October 7, the Israeli occupation army has been waging a devastating war in Gaza, which has claimed more than 20,000 Palestinian martyrs and 52,600 wounded, mostly children and women, massive destruction of infrastructure and unprecedented humanitarian aid since Wednesday. disaster, according to Gaza Strip authorities and the United Nations.