IDF: 57,277 veterans recognized as disabled, 5,000 suffer from PTSD

The Defense Ministry has published data to mark the 5th annual Day of Appreciation for wounded veterans.

Disabled IDF veterans with their newly donated scooters (photo credit: GOLSAR PRODUCTION HOUSE)
Disabled IDF veterans with their newly donated scooters
There are 57,277 disabled IDF veterans recognized by the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation department, the ministry announced on Sunday.
The figure, which includes soldiers who are suffering both physical and mental injuries, was published to mark the fifth annual Day of Appreciation for Those Wounded in Israel’s Wars and in Terrorist Attacks.
Of those being treated by the ministry’s rehabilitation department, 591 of them are highly disabled, and 817 were injured during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, 516 of whom have a disability rate of 20% or higher.
In addition to those with physical injuries, approximately 5,000 veterans have been recognized as suffering from  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) Over the past six years, however, the rehabilitation department has recognized only 588 as victims of PTSD.
The ministry said that every disabled veteran in the department is accompanied by a multidisciplinary team of specialists throughout the rehabilitation process, as well as a social worker, “in order to provide him with a comprehensive medical, social, employment and profit-related response.”
Over the past year the rehabilitation department financially assisted 546 disabled veterans with their university and college degrees, and prevented 92% of disabled veterans from being dismissed from their place of work.
The process to become recognized as an IDF disabled veteran has undergone a comprehensive reform in recent years, with a proactive approach for anyone recognized as disabled, as well as rapid intervention, a lessening of bureaucracy, and the building of a dedicated rehabilitation program in all aspects including welfare, medical care and employment.
The ministry’s rehabilitation department collaborates with academia to promote research into PTSD treatment, and any veteran recognized to have PTSD (having over 20% disability) is eligible for individual, spousal and/or family psychological therapy.
“The Ministry of Defense employs the leading experts in the State of Israel in a variety of therapeutic methods, and places special emphasis on rehabilitating PTSD victims through their reintegration into the workforce,” the ministry said. In addition to individual therapy, there are “unique therapeutic groups and occupational daycare centers across the country.”
The Day of Appreciation is “our opportunity as a state to stop the daily race [and] to pay tribute to those who paid a heavy price for state security,” said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Hezi Mishta, the ministry’s deputy director-general and head of the rehabilitation department. “The rehabilitation division cherishes disabled IDF veterans every day and works to provide them with the best medical care, to give them the full rights granted by the law, and to help reintegrate them into society, school and the workforce.
This is our mission.”