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IDF veteran injured in 2014 Gaza war dies by suicide at 27

Sister of Reuven Magen says his struggle with PTSD became ‘even harder since pandemic,’ says he was ‘a source of light who left a profound impression on everyone around him’

Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.

Reuven Magen. (Courtesy)
Reuven Magen. (Courtesy)

An Israeli soldier who was injured during the 2014 Gaza war and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder ever since died over the weekend by suicide, Hebrew-language media reported.

Reuven Magen, 27, served as an armored corps fighter in the conflict known as Operation Protective Edge.

Before his team had the chance to enter the Strip, a missile launched by the Gaza-based Hamas terror group was fired at the Israeli troops, killing five of his comrades and severely injuring his leg.

Magen, one of 15 soldiers who survived the attack, went through extensive physiotherapy for months. He was discharged from the IDF due to his injury and was recognized as a victim of PTSD.

“The battlefield never leaves you,” Ehud Amiton, Magen’s friend, who was also injured while serving in the IDF, told the Ynet news site.

“[Magen] was a hero. He overcame many obstacles over the past few years, but not anymore,” he said.

“It was hard for him, and even harder since the pandemic and Operation Guardian of the Walls [last May],” Magen’s sister, Avital, told Walla News.

“It was hard to dull the pain, it was just too much,” she said.

Avital described her brother as “a source of light who left a profound impression on everyone around him” and as a “brilliant person who excelled in his studies, a man of books.. and a person with a huge heart.”

Magen’s death follows two other cases from the past year that highlighted the struggle of IDF veterans with PTSD and the lack of proper treatment they receive.

Last December, IDF veteran Itzik Chen, who was refused recognition as a victim of PTSD, died by suicide.

A few months earlier, IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan self-immolated in an act of protest after years of struggling to receive the care he requested for PTSD that stemmed from his service in the Israeli military.

IDF veteran Itzik Saidyan, who set himself alight outside a Defense Ministry office on April 12, 2021. (Screenshot/Channel 12)

Veterans and their advocates have long said the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation department provides woefully insufficient care and subjects applicants to a bureaucracy so convoluted and torturous that many were required to hire expensive lawyers to help them navigate the system.

A state comptroller report released earlier this month found that 73 percent of wounded veteran applicants seeking treatment were not satisfied with the way the department’s committees functioned. The main reasons cited in a survey conducted by the comptroller were lack of care, humiliation, and distrust of applicants.

“It is the duty of Israel and the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Department to be the backbone of wounded veterans. They are the ones who contributed their souls and bodies to the defense of the country,” State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman wrote in his report.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report. 

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