Defense Ministry unveils reform plan for PTSD, rehabilitative care for veterans

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The Defense Ministry unveils its general plan to reform rehabilitative care for wounded Israel Defense Forces veterans, focusing most of its efforts on simplifying the byzantine bureaucracy and doing away with the current practice of conducting invasive background checks into those applying for assistance.

The ministry’s long-maligned Rehabilitation Department has come under renewed intense scrutiny in recent weeks after an IDF veteran, who had long struggled to receive help from the ministry set himself on fire outside the department’s offices in Petah Tikva earlier this month. The veteran, Itzik Saidyan, remains in critical condition in Sheba Medical Center, with burns covering his entire body, which his doctors said have caused infections that endanger his life.

Screen capture from video of IDF disabled veteran Itzik Saidyan talking about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. (Channel 12 News)

The ministry’s reform proposal, named “One Soul,” deals with both general issues involving the Rehabilitation Department and specific ones regarding the care for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

This includes creating a faster and easier process of recognizing injuries that were caused by or occurred during military service; legal assistance during the recognition process; increasing the number of services available online; and adding staff to the department.

The proposal also calls for the creation of a center for researching PTSD and a national PTSD committee, an increase in the number of treatments for PTSD offered by the ministry, and offering funding for alternative care not offered by the department.

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