Is the Defense Ministry acknowledging the failure of its Rehabilitation Wing to care of disabled IDF veterans? Defense Ministry CEO Udi Shani on Monday announced that a new unit would be established to directly address the needs of veterans with 100% service-connected disability.
"I have issued instructions to move all the care to the new unit immediately. They will receive different treatment," Shani promised in a hearing in the Knesset Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee.
- Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire
Disabled vets who took part in the hearing claimed that the ministry's Rehabilitation Wing consistently violated their rights.
Idan Kleinman: Payments are dwindling (Archive photo)
Attorney Idan Kleinman, a paraplegic, told the committee that payments had dwindled, leaving many disabled vets below the poverty line.
Eyal Eliyahu, who was wounded in the 1982 Lebanon War, said: "30 years ago I came to the Defense Ministry as a kid. Since then, I've never gone back. They told me, 'you'll get what you deserve,' but you go through abuse. There's no respect – no one cares."
Moshe Zin, head of the Rehabilitation Wing, responded to the veterans' claims by saying that his staff were in talks with representatives from the wounded vets' organization. "Not everything can be solved at once," he said.
Haim Bar, chairman of the Disabled IDF Veterans Organization, told the Knesset committee that in June 2011 the Defense Ministry had signed off on an historic agreement, but that the terms of the deal were not being honored by ministry staff. Committee chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) told him: "Do you want to solve everything? Take to the streets. You're saying harsh things, you're speaking from the heart but (the Defense Ministry) doesn't understand."
Katz' words met with applause from the dozens of veterans participating in the hearing, but were cut off by Shani, who said "We do understand," only to be chided by Katz.