30% of Israeli Soldiers Wounded During 2014 Gaza War Suffer From PTSD

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An Israeli soldier stands at a staging area after crossing back into Israel from Gaza, July 28, 2014.
An Israeli soldier stands at a staging area after crossing back into Israel from Gaza, July 28, 2014. Credit: REUTERS

Of the 481 soldiers the army recognized as disabled veterans due to the 2014 Gaza war, around 30 percent – 143 soldiers – suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Defense Ministry data.

This is the first time the ministry has published exact figures on the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress due to Operation Protective Edge.

Previous studies done by the army’s medical corps put the rate of soldiers who suffered from PTSD after participating in active combat much lower – seven to 20 percent. The rate was 10 to 20 percent in both the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 1982 Lebanon War, and just seven to 10 percent during the second intifada, the corps said.

Altogether, the Defense Ministry said, it is treating 4,650 soldiers who have been diagnosed with PTSD. Of the soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress following the 2014 war with Hamas, roughly 40 percent are currently enrolled in studies, funded by the ministry, as part of their rehabilitation process.

The data also show that about half the soldiers who were recognized as physically disabled due to the Gaza war had relatively high levels of disability – 20 percent of more.

Almost half of all disabled vets from that war were reservists called up to guard the border rather than regular soldiers who were fighting in Gaza. Altogether, 221 reservists were recognized as disabled on account of the 2014 war, as were 203 regular soldiers doing their compulsory military service and 57 career soldiers.

Today, three years after the war, the Defense Ministry is still processing about 150 claims by soldiers seeking recognition as disabled vets on account of injuries incurred during the conflict. The ministry said this is because some of the claims were filed only this year, some were filed on account of additional injuries that weren’t reported in the initial claim, and some claimants “haven’t cooperated with the rehabilitation department.”

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