Rise in suicides and in deaths overall among IDF soldiers in 2022, says military

Army data shows at least 14 soldiers took their own lives over past year; six killed in car crashes and three in combat

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Soldiers carry the coffin of Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank, at a military cemetery in Gedera, October 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Soldiers carry the coffin of Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank, at a military cemetery in Gedera, October 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces saw an increase in the number of soldiers killed in uniform over the past year — 44 compared to the previous year’s 31 — as well as a rise in the number of suicides, according to statistics released by the military on Tuesday.

Suicide remained the leading cause of death, with at least 14 soldiers believed to have taken their own lives in 2022, compared to 11 the year prior.

Most of the suicides in the IDF last year were conscripted male troops, Brig. Gen. Yoram Knafo, chief of staff of the IDF Manpower Directorate, told reporters. He said two of the 14 cases were lone soldiers, troops who either do not have family in Israel or are not supported by their families in Israel.

Three soldiers were killed in combat over the past year: Maj. Bar Falah, Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch and Sgt. Noa Lazar.

Falah was killed in a Palestinian shooting attack on the West Bank security barrier in September; Baruch was killed in a shooting attack near the West Bank city of Nablus in October; and Lazar was shot dead at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem that same month.

Three deaths that were notably not included in the 2022 figures were Command Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, a police commando who was killed as troops were wrapping up a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin in May, and Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, both 19, who were killed in a terror attack in the city of Hadera in March.

Their deaths were not included in the figures as the three served in the Border Police, and were thus outside the IDF’s purview.

Six soldiers were killed in car crashes while on leave and ten soldiers died of illnesses in 2022.

Six soldiers were killed in work or training accidents last year, and one in a car crash while on duty, according to the data. 2021 saw just one death as a result of an accident in the military.

In 2022, the military noted a significant rise in the number of severely injured soldiers, with 158, compared to 92 in 2021. But the IDF said it was mostly due to the Medical Corps changing the definition of “seriously hurt” to any soldier who had been hospitalized in intensive care.

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