Ofer Hahn
Ofer Hahn
Photo: Courtesy of Maoz
Itzik Saidyan, an IDF veteran suffering from PTSD, set himself on fire to protest his treatment by the Defense Ministry

Justice for Israel's wounded heroes

Opinion: Disabled veterans who answered their country's call to arms should not have to sue the state to receive compensation after bureaucrats coldly scoured their past for childhood behavior that they could use to wave away trauma

Ofer Hahn |
Published: 04.23.21 , 14:08
When IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan, who suffered from horrendous PTSD after serving in the 2014 Gaza war, set himself on fire last week, he ignited an entire country.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Itzik never asked to go into Gaza. He was sent there by his country to wage war, along with tens of thousands of other young men and women.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    איציק סעידיאן
    איציק סעידיאן
    Itzik Saidyan, an IDF veteran suffering from PTSD, set himself on fire to protest his treatment by the Defense Ministry
    Time and again patriotic Israelis like Itzik answer the call of duty, going where their country sends them.
    But when they return home, many are forced to keep fighting those wars that left them scarred in body and soul.
    And when they call on the country to fulfil its duty to them, just as they have always done, those calls go unanswered.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    IDF troops leaving Gaza at the end of the 2014 war
    IDF troops leaving Gaza at the end of the 2014 war
    IDF troops leaving Gaza at the end of the 2014 war
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Itzik's heartbreaking story tears open wounds for anyone who has fought and been injured for their country.
    Veterans are all too familiar with mistrust of their complaints and the humiliating process they must endure when dealing with the bureaucracy of the Defense Ministry's Wounded Veterans Department.
    There is a silent contract between Israel and its soldiers: when called to fight, we show up.
    But that contract has to include state recognition of the fact that the fight does not end when the guns fall silent.
    We cannot allow our walking wounded to go without proper care any longer.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    ארגון נכי צה"ל בהפגנת מחאה נגד הטיפול בנכי צה"ל ותמיכה באיציק סעידיאן מול הקריה בתל אביב
    ארגון נכי צה"ל בהפגנת מחאה נגד הטיפול בנכי צה"ל ותמיכה באיציק סעידיאן מול הקריה בתל אביב
    An Israeli man attending a protest in Tel Aviv this month over the treatment of IDF veterans by the state
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    For some, a post-service trip to far-off destinations is enough to ease the emotional toll.
    Others need more. They should be treated as the heroes that they are, but instead are presumed to be liars, frauds and charlatans.
    This is what happened to Itzik and this is why he took such desperate action.
    Disabled veterans should not have to sue the state to receive their dues after bureaucrats coldly scoured their past for childhood behavior that they could use to wave away their trauma.
    No one cared about their childhood tantrums before they gave them a gun and sent them into battle.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    ארגון נכי צה"ל בהפגנת מחאה נגד הטיפול בנכי צה"ל ותמיכה באיציק סעידיאן מול הקריה בתל אביב
    ארגון נכי צה"ל בהפגנת מחאה נגד הטיפול בנכי צה"ל ותמיכה באיציק סעידיאן מול הקריה בתל אביב
    IDF veterans protesting outside the Defense Ministry HQ in Tel Aviv this month over their treatment by the state
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    It is time to fix this broken way of treating our broken war heroes.
    The Wounded Veterans Department must demolished and rebuilt from scratch.
    A country such as Israel, which lives by the sword, must look after those who it asks to wield them in war.
    Ofer Hahn is a reservist officer in the Israel Defense Forces
    Talkbacks for this article 0