Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire outside Defense Ministry

MDA medics classified him as being in severe condition and suffering from intense burns which cover his entire body.

MDA on the scene 370 (photo credit: Courtesy MDA)
MDA on the scene 370
(photo credit: Courtesy MDA)
A 26-year-old disabled IDF veteran arrived at the offices of the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Division in Petah Tikva and set himself on fire on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Defense Ministry reported.
Defense Ministry security guards acted immediately to provide him with first aid and called Magen David Adom services for medical assistance. The man was taken by ambulance to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.
MDA medics classified him as being in severe condition and suffering from intense burns which cover his entire body.
The Defense Ministry said in a following statement that the man is diagnosed with PTSD, after being part of the combat in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.
An initial ministry investigation shows that the man pulled out a bottle of flammable substance, poured it over himself, and set himself on fire at the entrance to a building belonging to the ministry.
The man was identified by Channel 12 News as Itzik Saidian, who was interviewed in the past, and talked about his experiences in the battle of Shajai’a in the Gaza Strip, and about the hardships of getting Defense Ministry recognition as PTSD patients.
The ministry said that both Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the ministry’s director-general Amir Eshel were informed of the incident, and ordered to open an investigation into it.
A lawyer who does not represent Saidian but consulted with him on his case and is an expert on suits against the IDF said that "the Defense Ministry's handling of Saidian's case was unprofessional, contempt-filled and bordering on negligent,"  explaining that Saidain received only partial recognition as a disabled veteran.
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev, a former IDF brigadier, said that “there are too many cases, in which IDF disabled veterans, our brothers we send to combat, are getting into extreme despair situations and they feel that they do not receive support from the system.
“During the period of corona, the distress only increased. Just before Remembrance Day, when we remember those who are not with us, let’s think about those who are, and that paid the price with their bodies and soul,” he said.
Responding to the incident, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin said he’s praying for the recovery of Saidian.
“Among our sons and daughters who came back from the battlefield, there are many – too many – who are can’t stop the battle. We see you. We feel your pain,” he said.
“Even when the wounds of the body heal, even when the physical pain ends, there are people who constantly come back to the day-to-day battle of life.
“We owe Itzik, and all of our other children that are still fighting, the existence of the State of Israel. We are in charge of their future,” Rivlin said.