Blood Samples of Israeli Intel Officer Who Died in Jail Inconclusive on Overdose

Yaniv Kubovich
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The grave of the dead soldier in June.
The grave of the dead soldier in June.Credit: Rami Shllush
Yaniv Kubovich

The results of blood samples taken from the body of an Israeli military intelligence officer who died in May after collapsing in his  cell do not conclusively show that he died of a drug overdose, the military announced on Friday.

Concentrations of two drugs were tested for. One was found to be within normal dosage limits, while the testing for the presence of the second drug was unsuccessful, the army said.

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“It should be noted that this involves complex technology, and a result like this sometimes occurs,” the army’s statement said, which added that the findings have been sent to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv for examination and that the officer’s family was informed of the results on Friday morning.

Although only one of the two test results was conclusive, the officer’s parents claimed on Friday that the results “reflect that there was no drug overdose in his blood and strengthen our assessment that our son did not choose to take his own life.” The parents demanded that the death be thoroughly investigated and said the test results support their demand that he be recognized as a fallen soldier.

The detention facility where the officer was being held.Credit: IDF Spokesperson

An autopsy was performed on the soldier’s body a day after his death.  The fact that he took antidepressant and antipsychotic medications led to initial speculation that his death was a possible overdose. The testing to check for a possible overdose of medication that was given by a prison doctor required the Military Advocate General’s office to  send samples to a lab in the United States. The samples were personally transported to the American lab in a cooler by a representative of the Israel Defense Forces.

The military insisted on transporting the samples itself despite the advice of professionals outside the security establishment who said that there was a more orderly and efficient way of doing so. The army’s insistence apparently delayed the process, which took place last month. 

The officer was arrested in September and was charged with serious security-related offenses, the details of which are subject to a gag order. It has been cleared for publication that he was questioned on suspicion of causing serious harm to state security.

The army has said that the investigation revealed that he was also aware of the potential damage of his actions and attempted to conceal them. The army clarified, however, that he was not working on behalf of a foreign power and had not been in touch with hostile forces. He cooperated with the investigation and admitted to many of the acts of which he was accused, army sources said.

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