Itzik Saidiyan, a PTSD-afflicted IDF veteran who set himself on fire last year in protest of the state's care of his condition, made his first public appearance Sunday night since the incident that most of his body badly burned.
Saidyan spoke at a gala event at Sheba Medical Center where he has been treated since his self-immolation left him critically injured.
"I am very excited to be here. I want to thank the Lord for bringing me this far, my family that has stuck by my side the entire time," Saidyan said. "Especially my mother, my dearest, who has been by my side since the first day I arrived at Sheba.
I am living proof that innovation saves lives thanks to the medical teams that have treated me with much dedication. It is important for me to say that I have set myself the goal of continuing to make the voices of IDF veterans heard, and I will continue to stand behind them. I would love to get involved and help promote life-saving projects."
Itzik Saidyan, 26, attempted to take his own life in April of last year when he entered a Defense Ministry rehabilitation facility in Petah Tikva 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.
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.
He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving 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's suicide attempt sent shock waves through Israeli society and thousands took to the streets in protest, demanding the Defense Ministry revise its policies regarding veterans with disabilities.