Israeli AffairsNewsPalestine

Ex-Israel soldier dies after setting himself on fire

A 33-year-old Israeli soldier who set himself on fire after the Defence Ministry denied his request for disability status, died from his wounds yesterday.

The soldier, identified as Bar Kalaf, suffered severe injuries and was immediately rushed to Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Hashomer on Tuesday. His family blamed the negligence of the Israeli government for the 33-year-old’s desperate act.

Kalaf, who served in the army from 2008 to 2011 and participated in the attack on Gaza dubbed Operation Protective Edge as a reservist, had been seeking recognition for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to his service. However, the Defence Ministry rejected his application, stating that he was diagnosed with a “mental illness” not directly linked to his military duties. The ministry asserted that Kalaf’s case was thoroughly examined before the decision was made.

According to Kalaf’s family, he felt utterly hopeless as his pleas for help went unanswered. They claimed that the medical committee responsible for evaluating his request failed to conduct a comprehensive examination of his condition, leading to the denial of his disability status. They criticised the brief evaluation process, stating that it was insufficient to assess the complexities of her son’s mental health struggles.

Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli onslaught which Kalaf’s family say caused PTSD, was one of the most brutal military raids into Gaza. Israel waged a three-week military offensive against the Strip, killing almost 1,400 Palestinians and wounding thousands more.

The family believes that proper attention to mental health issues should be a priority, particularly for young individuals going through the intense experience of military duty.

Kalaf is the second Israeli soldier who served during Operation Protective Edge to set himself on fire. Two years ago 26-year-old veteran Itzik Saidian, who was diagnosed with PTSD, tried to kill himself. Initial investigations suggested that the former soldier pulled out a bottle of flammable substance, poured it over himself, and set it alight at the entrance to a building belonging to the Defence Ministry.

Related Articles

Back to top button