Disabled IDF veteran in critical condition after self-immolation

Itzik Saidyan, who suffers from PTSD after his service in 2014 Gaza War, was frustrated with authorities' after they repeatedly refused to recognize extent of disability; family says state 'neglects those who need help'

Yoav Zitun, Nina Fuchs|
A disabled IDF combat veteran is in critical condition on Tuesday after he set himself on fire — two days before Memorial Day.
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  • On Monday, 26-year-old Itzik Saidyan entered a rehabilitation facility with a canister of flammable fluid that security at the premises thought was a bottle of water and waited in the lobby after his requests to adjust the specification of his disability were declined several times.
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    איציק סעידיאן
    איציק סעידיאן
    Itzik Saidyan
    At some point, he doused himself with the fluid, and then set himself on fire in the entryway.
    He was taken by ambulance to Sheba Medical Center, having sustained 100 percent burns.
    Saidyan was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after his service in the 2014 Gaza War.
    Entering the Palestinian enclave with the Golani brigade, he took part in the heavy Battle of Shuja’iyya, in which 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.
    Saidyan was recognized as having 25 percent disability due to his PTSD, but was frustrated with the authorities' refusal to up his disability to 50 percent.
    His family and friends from military service are by his side at the hospital.
    "The state forgets the soldiers who fought to be heard, and neglects them," said Saidyan's sister-in-law, Bat-El.
    "When they need help, they get the door slammed in their faces. We are shocked and hope he will recover."
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    IDF soldiers during the 2014 Gaza War
    IDF soldiers during the 2014 Gaza War
    IDF soldiers during the 2014 Gaza War
    (Photo: Ido Erez)
    IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi wished a speedy recovery Tuesday to Saidyan, stressing that Israel owes "a great debt to those who risk their lives for the protection of the state."
    "On behalf of myself and the entire IDF, I wish a speedy and complete recovery to Itzik Saidyan, a former soldier in the Golani Brigade who is hospitalized in serious condition," said Kohavi. "Among our fighters and our reservists are those whose injuries cannot be seen and they carry the physical and emotional scars of battle for many years."
    "The IDF and the people of Israel owe a great debt to those who risk their lives for the protection of the state, and we must do everything we can to fight for them," he added.
    President Reuven Rivlin also responded to the incident and said he is praying for Saidyan's recovery.
    "Among our sons and daughters who came back from the battlefield, there are many – too many – for whom the battle had not ended. We see you. We feel your pain," he said.
    "Even when the wounds of the body heal, even when the physical pain ends, there are people who come back to fight the day-to-day battle for life. "We are indebted to Itzik, and all of our other children who are still fighting, for the existence of the State of Israel. We are in responsible for their future," Rivlin said.

    i24NEWS assisted with this article.
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