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GOP reps want same benefits for Americans serving in Israel army

GOP reps want same benefits for Americans serving in Israel army

IDF soldiers would get same protections as those serving in US National Guard or Reserves

Reporting | QiOSK

In what might sound like something out of Louis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, or for the more modern twist, Seinfeld's Bizarro World, two Republican congressmen have introduced legislation that would extend the same employment protections to Americans serving in the Israeli army as Americans who leave work and home to serve the U.S. military.

In other words, no different than U.S. National Guardsman or Reservists, they are just fighting for another country.

“Over 20,000 American citizens are currently defending Israel from Hamas terrorists, risking their lives for the betterment of our ally,” said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), in a recent statement.“This legislation will ensure we do everything possible to support these heroes who are standing with Israel, fighting for freedom, and combating terrorism in the Middle East.”

“As our closest ally in the Middle East continues to defend itself against terror, many brave Americans have decided to lend a hand,” added Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio). “I’m proud that this legislation extends important protections to those Americans who chose to risk their lives in the fight against terror.”

Their legislation would, according to the lawmakers, amend title 38 of United States Code, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to include American citizens, including Israeli dual citizens, who serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The SCRA allows protections against foreclosure, default judgements in legal cases, repossession of rental property or leases and hiked interest rates while a individual is serving. This amendment would also extend to these IDF soldiers protections under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which extends "civilian job rights and benefits for veterans, members of reserve components, and even individuals activated by the President of the United States to provide Federal Response for National Emergencies."

According to the Washington Post, as of February, some 23,380 American citizens are currently serving in the Israeli Army, many of them emigres to Israel, though reservists living in the U.S. have been called back to Israel to fight. Some 21 Americans in IDF units have been killed inside Gaza, another one died along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, and another was killed in Jerusalem while serving in Israel’s border police.

Military service is compulsory for all Israeli Jews after high school; many stay on to serve in the reserves. According to reports, Israel called up 350,000 reservists after the Hamas attacks.

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., caused a stir in October, shortly after the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, when he showed up for work on the floor of the House wearing his IDF uniform. "As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” Mast wrote in a post on X, alongside several photos of him wearing the uniform.


Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., wearing his Israeli Defense Forces uniform, on Capitol Hill, Oct. 13, 2023. (X post)

Reporting | QiOSK
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