Handicapped IDF veterans and Defense Ministry reach agreement, end feud

Handicapped IDF veterans

The Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Department may soon become more transparent and accountable to the disabled army veterans it serves if a deal reached Monday between Defense Ministry Director-General Pinhas Buchris and head of the Disabled IDF Veterans Association Haim Bar is approved by lawmakers in the coming months. Brokered by Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson, the agreement was aimed at ending a string of protests over the past week-and-a-half from disabled army veterans who are feeling increasingly disillusioned by reports of over-spending in the Defense Ministry coupled with cut-backs to their benefits. Under the deal reached Monday, Buchris highlighted the "moral debt" owed by Israeli society to disabled IDF veterans and vowed to improve the rehabilitation programs currently offered to the former soldiers. He also promised to implement a series of changes to the Rehabilitation Department over the next year. In addition, the parties agreed that any significant changes to the rights or benefits of disabled veterans would first need the agreement of the Disabled IDF Veterans Association and that all Defense Ministry committees relating to the veterans would now require a representative from the organization present.