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HomenewsIsrael gives Putin a sharp lesson in military mobilization

Israel gives Putin a sharp lesson in military mobilization

Israel has said it successfully mobilized a record 300,000 army reservists in 48 hours—a feat that took Russia more than a month after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of the population for his war in Ukraine last fall.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the mobilization drive in a televised statement after Hamas militants launched a surprise multi-front attack from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel over the weekend.

Chief military spokesperson Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Monday that 300,000 reservists have been called up by the military since Saturday. He added that Israel has “never drafted so many reservists on such a scale” and that “we are going on the offensive.” Newsweek has yet to substantiate this figure.

It represents 3 percent of Israel’s population, and is, according to the newspaper The Jerusalem Post, the country’s largest mobilization drive in history.

It’s the same amount of fighters Russian President Vladimir Putin said would be drafted to fight in Ukraine as part of his partial-mobilization order that he announced in the fall of 2022.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 21 last year that Russia would be targeting 300,000 reservists and ex-military personnel with “certain military specialties and relevant experience.” The figure represents 0.2 percent of Russia’s population.

The Kremlin said the partial mobilization was completed on October 28, 2022, with tens of thousands already sent to the front lines in Ukraine by that date.

“The task set by you of [mobilizing] 300,000 people has been completed. No further measures are planned,” Shoigu said at the time, adding that, of the 300,000 mobilized reservists, 218,000 were undergoing training, and 82,000 had been deployed to Ukraine.

Putin’s partial-mobilization order was partly seen as unsuccessful due to the huge numbers of Russians who fled abroad to avoid being conscripted. Just days after the decree, more than 370,000 citizens fled the country since the decree—more than the total number that defense officials said would be called to enlist in the military.

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment via email.

Re: Russia, an analysis and policy network, found that the top nine recipient regions for Russian émigrés between February 2022 and July 2023 were Kazakhstan, Serbia, Armenia, Turkey, the European Union (EU), Israel, Montenegro, Georgia, and the United States, the Economist reported in August.

Russia took far longer to mobilize 300,000 people to its military than Israel, despite offering an attractive salary package to recruits.

All Russian combatants fighting in Ukraine are entitled to a lump sum from the Ministry of Defense of 195,000 rubles ($2,080) upon signing a contract of at least one year. Monthly salaries vary depending on military rank, position and length of service, but are no less than 204,000 rubles ($2,176). Combatants also receive regional payments from authorities, which vary nationwide, according to analysis by Not Moscow Speaks, which was created by a group of independent Russian journalists.

The independent investigative publication Agentstvo said that, in Israel, conscripted reservists aren’t offered such an attractive salary and are paid as much as they would be paid in their main job.

The news outlet added that conscripted Israeli soldiers became involved in hostilities immediately after being drafted, while, in Russia, the majority trained at military camps before being sent into the war zone.

Do you have a tip on a world news story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about the Russia-Ukraine war? Let us know via worldnews@newsweek.com.

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