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Budget cuts force Israeli military to cancel reservist call-ups

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli military canceled the call-up of reserve forces for the rest of the year following massive cuts in the defense budget.

The call-up orders of four reservist battalions scheduled to report for duty in the coming days were canceled Monday by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Some 70 percent of reservist duty has been canceled for the rest of the year, according to the IDF.

Units from the standing army will conduct the operational activities that were to be handled by the reservists,  which the IDF said Tuesday in a statement is less expensive to deploy.

The IDF’s General Staff Forum also decided to give top priority for training drills to ground forces, particularly infantry and armored units, although infantry exercises will be shortened.

For non-reserve units, exercises will be reduced in the Home Front Command, Combat Engineering Corps and Artillery Corps, which will only hold basic exercises, the IDF said.

Decreases are expected in the military’s educational activities, special events and welfare activities, according to the IDF spokesman.

The defense budget was cut by nearly $409 million for this year, with the amount to double for 2014.

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