Girlfriends and fiancées of fallen soldiers deserve recognition from the Defense Ministry, MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said Monday.
Two soldiers who were killed in action in the last week – Maj. Benaya Sarel and Sec.- Lt. Hadar Goldin – were supposed to get married in the coming months, and their fiancées gave emotional eulogies at their funerals. Others had long-time girlfriends.
“The time has come for there to be a ‘girlfriend protocol,’” Lavie said. “The IDF and Defense Ministry invest efforts in taking care of and supporting the families of the fallen... but girlfriends who are not officially part of the family are left without help.”
In light of this, Lavie wrote a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asking him to have the Defense Ministry further aid girlfriends and other partners of fallen soldiers.
“I commend the efforts of The Non-Profit Organization for Emotional Support of Girlfriends (Fiancées) of Fallen Soldiers of the IDF and the aid it receives from the Defense Ministry,” Lavie wrote. “At the same time, I have received complaints in recent weeks that show there are problems the Defense Ministry has yet to deal with.”
Among the problems Lavie listed are that officers do not go to the girlfriends to tell them that the soldier was killed, and many found out through unofficial channels.
In the current operation, 27 girlfriends of slain soldiers are soldiers themselves, Lavie wrote, and they are not accompanied by anyone from their army unit to their loved ones’ funerals.
Girlfriends and fiancées of soldiers often stay with the fallen’s family during their shiva period, but may not have sufficient vacation days from their employer to do so, she wrote.
In addition, Lavie called for the girlfriends and fiancées to be given psychological aid if necessary, including support and advice from professionals, via the Organization for Emotional Support.
“These young women lost what is most beloved to them, and that makes it difficult for them to return to their daily routine,” Lavie explained.
“We cannot continue ignoring them.
“I hope we won’t need this support and that the soldiers who fell in the current operation will be the last fallen soldiers,” she said.