Avi Lewis

Israel’s tech workers serving in the IDF reserves

Did you know that 15% of Israel’s Hi Tech workforce serve in the IDF Reserves?

That means the next time you’re in a meeting with Amit, Yuval, Omer or Eyal, chances are that some of them are on call to stop, drop and don their uniforms at a moment’s notice

One in five of the IDF’s 350,000 reservists work in tech according to the Finance Ministry figures

Engineers and innovators by day, intelligence and frontline operators by night

And with 2024 gearing up to be an uncertain year for the Jewish state with multiple threats across all fronts, IDF reservists can likely expect a lot more active duty through H1 and H2

Talk about ‘war-life balance’

Army service is mandatory in Israel and reservists continue serving well into their 40s and sometimes 50s

As I returned to the office today for the first time since October 7th, one question kept coming up:

“How do you make the switch between serving in the army and then returning to your day job?”

Although I understood the question I really didn’t see a dissonance

Both of these are two equally important grounds in the conflict we’re facing: the military front and the economic one

While traditionally soldiers are trained to follow orders – in the highly complex and technologically saturated battlefields of the 21st century thinking creatively outside the box and being able to quickly adapt to changing situations can tip the scales in your favor

Necessity naturally flattens hierarchies and allows the most brilliant ideas to bubble to the top

The same is true in the tech world: the speed and pace of innovation requires savvy and intellect to outpace competitors and deliver a more compelling product

Both of these battlegrounds play to Israel’s strengths: youthfulness, creativity, a strong sense of purpose, agility, a healthy dose of skepticism and the refusal to give up in the face of all odds

I’m highly optimistic that we’ll succeed because of Israel’s number one natural resource:

Human capital

Over these past few weeks reserve duty soldiers have been re-injected into the economy

And while the future remains uncertain, I’m sure they’re going to double down

They’ll bring the same level of steadfastness, vigor and motivation to planning sessions, product deadlines and Q1 goals as they brought to the battlefield

And that’s because the same ethos essentially undergirds both disciplines

To paraphrase President Kennedy’s legendary words:

Asking less about ‘what’s in it for me’ and instead focusing on what I can do for my community, people and country

About the Author
Avi was formerly a news writer at the Times of Israel. Originally from Australia, he served in the IDF and today works in Israel's thriving Hi Tech sector in Tel Aviv. He lives near Modi'in with wife and 3 kids
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