A. enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces despite her borderline weight (43 kilos; 1.46 cm tall). After spending 18 months at a base in northern Israel she deserted the army over what she felt was abuse by her commander.
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"She spent three months at home," he father said. "She's a terrific soldier who did not cause any problems during her days in service. She defected only when she couldn't take it anymore and was afraid of what will be done to her."
But her desertion was not her biggest problem: A.'s health began to deteriorate as she increasingly denied herself food.
In an act of desperation in the face of her increasing weight loss, her father decided to turn her in to the Military Police two weeks ago. "Being a soldier she does not have medical insurance, and the army is the only place where she can get treatment," her father explained. "I was sure she would be given the medical attention she needs immediately". He was proved wrong.
The Military Police arrested A. and transferred her to Prison 400 at Tel Hashomer. Her parents were appalled to discover her painfully emaciated when they arrived for a hearing at the Jaffa Military Court. "She was so thin that sitting on the bench actually hurt her. She had to wear sweat pants underneath her uniform." The parents said that she currently weighs a mere 34 kilos.
On Wednesday, the couple sent a letter to the Military Court. "Our child is being moved from mental health officers to army medics to psychiatrics, but is not receiving proper care. The only treatment she has received was a double mattress for her frail body and ointment for sores on her body."
The letter stated: "The military should be ashamed that there is a soldier in such a state. She continues to deteriorate. Our lives have turned into hell."
Hand cuffed in wheelchair
A. was finally taken for medical exams at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer while hand cuffed in a wheelchair and escorted by two military policemen on Thursday.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response: "The soldier committed desertion spanning five months and was sentenced to two weeks in military prison which end today.
"She was examined by a doctor at the time of the arrest and no medical impediment for her detention was found. She was examined several times during her time in custody and sent to further tests at a hospital."
IDF elements stressed that A. is not wheelchair-bound and used it only for the purpose of moving around the hospital.
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