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Disabled IDF veterans protesting in Jerusalem Wednesday
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Disabled IDF veterans protesting in Jerusalem Wednesday

After weeks of protests, IDF veteran care gets long sought overhaul

Defense Ministry plan, dubbed 'One Soul', will direct NIS 300 million towards treatment and rehabilitation of former military members, with emphasis on treating PTSD, and include psychological aid, vocational training and closer monitoring

Yoav Zitun, Gad Lior |
Published: 05.06.21 , 15:36
Following weeks of protests over the treatment of disabled IDF veterans, ministers on Thursday agreed to push through the Defense Ministry's plan to reform the treatment and rehabilitation process for wounded former members of the military.
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  • A dispute over funding halted the progress of the proposal earlier this week.
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    ההפגנה מחוץ לכנסת
    Disabled IDF veterans protesting in Jerusalem Wednesday
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    The issue has been brought into the spotlight after Itzik Saidyan, a 26-year-old former soldier who served in the 2014 Gaza war and suffered from severe PTSD, lit himself on fire last month over the state's failure to increase his disability ranking.
    The outline, dubbed "One Soul", will be budgeted at NIS 300 million (approx. $92 million) and will be directed towards the care and rehabilitation of veterans, with an emphasis on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
    According to the Defense Ministry, a mechanism for aiding veterans suffering from PTSD will be established immediately and include psychological assistance for family members, vocational training, support groups, service dogs, alternative treatments and a dedicated call center.
    The funding will also go toward the immediate hire of 60 people for the Rehabilitation Department and additional jobs in the IDF to begin offering aid to soldiers while they are still in service.
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    איציק סעידיאן
    איציק סעידיאן
    IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan set himself alight to protest his treatment
    "After many efforts, we reached an agreement between the Prime Minister’s Office and defense and finance ministries, together with the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization, on a budget [for] reforming the Rehabilitation Department," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
    "Wounded IDF veterans are important and dear us and an immediate and fundamental reform is needed to ensure the help that they deserve."
    He also vowed to convene the government "as soon as possible" to approve the reform.
    "I have approved thousands of operations, attack plans and reforms in the IDF and defense establishment and yet this is one of the most important and most moral efforts I have led, and I will continue to lead the implementation of this reform and provide the proper care for IDF veterans," Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.
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    Disabled IDF veterans protesting outside Knesset in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Following the approval of the outline, the head of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization Idan Kleinman said: "The organization together with the government of Israel we are beginning to correct a years-long injustice, from which many disabled veterans and their families suffered in sacrificing their bodies and souls for the country's defense."
    The new plan will shortly be brought before the cabinet, where it is expected to receive the necessary approvals.
    On Wednesday, hundreds of disabled IDF veterans and their families gathered outside Knesset and blocked roads in Jerusalem in protest of the budgetary dispute.
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