Israel’s parliament on Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of the Gaza conflagration by devoting a series of plenum and committee discussions to examining Operation Protective Edge and its aftermath.
The Knesset will hear from IDF conscripts and reservists wounded during combat in Gaza. The soldiers, who have been recognized as wounded veterans, will tell lawmakers of the difficulties they have encountered with bureaucratic red tape while trying to obtain benefits from the state.
The parliament will also hear statements by small business owners from the South who say they have yet to receive state recovery aid in the year since the fighting ended.
Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah gathered data in preparation for a special session of the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee. According to Shelah’s research, 322 IDF conscripts, reservists, and noncommissioned officers who were wounded during Operation Protective Edge were granted wounded veteran status since the war’s end. Of that number, 83 percent have yet to complete the process of determining the extent of their disabilities, a prerequisite toward receiving the necessary medical care.
The figures compiled by Shelah also show that many of those wounded are not receiving the financial benefits to which they are entitled due to the slow pace of processing by the medical committees examining their cases.
According to the data, 69% of wounded veterans reported that their families had suffered economic hardships as a result of the injuries incurred during combat.
Shelah also discovered that 86% of wounded vets are unaware of the full extent of their benefits since they claim that the Defense Ministry has not apprised fully apprised them of their entitlements. Three-fourths of wounded veterans say they do not know whom to turn to in order to deal with the matter.
“These figures show that the Defense Ministry’s wounded veterans’ rehabilitation department is collapsing,” Shelah said. “This is on account of those who deserve more than anyone else - those who just a year ago were sent to combat to defend the towns of the South.”
“The shocking state of affairs in which wounded vets from the Gaza war are not being treated properly is a mark of Cain on [Israeli] society and the defense establishment.”