A soldier reflects.
(photo credit: Micha Bar-Am)
Suicide rates in the IDF have fallen to their lowest level in the military’s
history, according to figures that the army unveiled on Wednesday.
soldiers took their own lives in 2013 – half the number of suicides recorded in
2012 (14), and a third of those in 2011 (21).
The statistics point to a
75-percent decrease in suicides since 2010, when the army recorded 28
Army sources attributed the reduction to a combination of
preventative steps, including a computer system that provides personal histories
of soldiers, warnings of crisis points before they occur, and an increase in
commanders’ involvement in their soldiers’ personal affairs. IDF soldiers have
also created periodic committees to examine the state of individual
“Our activities, including a computerized system giving
commanders preliminary information about a soldier, reducing availability to
weapons, [and] passing on values and messages to choose life, are what reduced
the phenomenon of suicides to its lowest point ever,” said Brig.-Gen. Moshe
Alush, the IDF Personnel Directorate’s chief of staff.
in the Personnel Directorate revealed on Wednesday that the IDF was continuing
searches for the bodies of fallen soldiers from the Yom Kippur War. Methods of
trying to track down the remains cannot be disclosed, the sources
The IDF says that in total, the location of 179 fallen soldiers’
burial spots remains unknown. Out of those, the biggest number of missing
bodies, 98, is from the 1948 War of Independence.
Five soldiers are
considered to be officially missing in action: three who were last seen at the
battle of Sultan Yacoub in 1982’s First Lebanon War; Ron Arad, the navigator
kidnapped in Lebanon in 1986; and Guy Hever, who went missing in 1997, last seen
at his base on the Golan Heights.
In 2013, five soldiers were killed by
hostile action, the same number as in 2012.