Schalit recognized as disabled IDF veteran

Until now, soldiers released from captivity needed to request recognition; decision will apply to any future cases of captive soldiers.

Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Defense Ministry decided over the weekend to recognize Gilad Schalit as a disabled IDF veteran, even before he returns to Israel.
Schalit is expected to return in a prisoner swap with Hamas on Tuesday.
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Until now, soldiers released from captivity needed to submit a request to be recognized as a disabled veteran before receiving the recognition from the ministry, which brings significant tax breaks and other benefits.
The decision was made at the request of Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson and will apply to all soldiers released from captivity in the future.
According to the decision, soldiers released from captivity will automatically be recognized as disabled veterans due to the assumption that they will, at the very least, suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“This decision will enable us as a country to provide the minimum for soldiers who return from captivity to return as much as possible to a normal life,” Hasson said. “It is our moral obligation to help soldiers who the deal, is a Hamas demand that all the female security prisoners in Israeli jails be released, and not just the 27 that Israel has agreed upon. According to press reports, Hamas is claiming there are about another 10 female prisoners, including three Israeli Arabs.
Government officials said on Saturday night that Israel had no intention of re-opening the list of those prisoners to be released.
Meanwhile, the legal department in the president’s bureau has begun dealing with pardons for the prisoners to be released.
An announcement issued by the president’s spokeswoman on Saturday night said lawyer Emi Palmor, the head of the Pardons Division in the Justice Ministry, would deliver all the files on the prisoners, including recommendations by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
The president’s legal department, headed by lawyer Orit Corinaldi Sirkis, would then prepare pardons for President Shimon Peres to sign. He is not expected to do anything to jeopardize the exchange deal.
Outside the President’s Residence on Saturday night, about 25 protesters demonstrated against the upcoming prisoner exchange.
The Justice Ministry was expected to publish a list of the 450 male prisoners and 27 female prisoners due for release as part of the first stage of the Schalit deal by Sunday morning at the latest.
The list will be posted for public viewing on the Prisons Service website, and the ministry has also announced plans to operate an information center, which will be available to answer telephone enquiries from the public before the prisoners are freed.
Once the list is formally released, the public has 48 hours to petition to the High Court of Justice against the deal. If previous prisoner releases are any indication, the court will not intervene, maintaining that prisoner exchange deals are within the government’s purview.

Joanna Paraszczuk and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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