Monday, June 17, 2024

Republican bill aims to give Americans serving in Israeli military same benefits as US soldiers

Two Republican congressmen introduced a bill that would provide the same employment and economic protections to Americans serving in the Israeli military as US citizens who get deployed to serve in the US military.

The protections sought by the two lawmakers, Guy Reschenthaler and Max Miller, come in stark contrast to how other countries have been called upon to treat their citizens who have gone to serve in Israel’s military.

“Over 20,000 American citizens are currently defending Israel from Hamas terrorists, risking their lives for the betterment of our ally,” Reschenthaler said in a 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,” he added.

By introducing this legislation last Friday, the lawmakers want Americans serving in a foreign military to be treated in the “same manner as service in the uniformed services”.

The bill, if passed, would amend US law and extend certain protections to include American citizens who serve in the Israeli military.

Those protections include being safe against foreclosure and the repossession of rental property, and would also reduce the interest rates of any loans taken out before their service. It would also protect those Americans from default judgements in legal cases, and grant them job rights and the employment benefits that US veterans receive.

Around 23,380 American citizens are currently serving in the Israeli army, according to a February report by The Washington Post. Some 21 Americans in those military units have been killed in Gaza, while another died in cross-border exchanges with Lebanon.

Many Republicans in Congress have been staunch supporters of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, levelled civilian infrastructure, targeted hospitals and schools, and also killed healthcare workers and journalists.

Shortly after the war in Gaza began, Congressman Brian Mast entered the halls of Congress wearing an Israeli military uniform, and went on to boast about his service in the foreign nation’s military.

“As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” Mast stated.

While these Republicans are seeking to extend economic benefits to Americans serving in Israel, other countries have taken a completely different stance.

South Africa’s foreign minister announced it would prosecute its citizens who have served in Israel’s military once they return to the country.

Haaretz reported in March that the French foreign ministry quietly announced it would investigate French nationals who are implicated in possible war crimes in Gaza during their time serving in the Israeli military.

A UK-based Palestinian legal centre has requested the British government clarify if it plans to prosecute its citizens serving in the Israeli armed forces.

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