Father Accuses Israeli Army of Negligence After Son Dies of Allergic Reaction

New soldier Shalev Hazan was unaware that the granola he was served on his army base contained nuts. He was hospitalized in critical condition 10 days ago, but died late Saturday night.

Ofer Vaknin

An Israeli soldier died late Saturday night due to a severe allergic reaction after eating nuts at his military base. The soldier’s father alleges that his son was not given proper medical treatment at the base.

Shalev Hazan, who was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces earlier this month, had a severe nut allergy. He didn’t know that the granola which apparently was served for dinner at the base where he was doing basic training contained nuts. According to an army source, after eating the granola he began to choke. He was brought to the clinic on the base, where cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed, and he was admitted to Soroka Medical Center, Be’er Sheva, in critical condition, around 10 days ago.

Yossi Hazan, Shalev’s father, said that according to what he has been told so far, the on-call doctor was not on the base and did not arrive for some time after being called, and he did not provide appropriate treatment to his son. The right thing to do in the event of a severe allergic reaction, Hazan explained, is to give an injection of epinephrine using an EpiPen. “The injection was only done more than an hour after he lost consciousness, when the Magen David Adom team from Be’er Sheva reached the base,” Yossi Hazan alleged.

The Military Police began an investigation and the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate has established an inquiry into the matter. The Military Police investigates any soldier’s death that occurs outside of combat operations. The investigation and internal review are expected to focus on military procedures related to serving food in the army in general, and to soldiers with known allergies in particular, as well as the medical treatment given to Hazan.

The army is expected to examine whether the dining hall personnel were aware that the granola they served contained nuts, and if they did know, whether that should be noted on the serving container.

Yossi Hazan said his son was allergic to fish, sesame seeds and tree nuts. As a civilian, he said, Shalev was very careful about checking the ingredients of the food he ate, but in the army the food was served without packaging and ingredient lists. The father said Shalev told him that once, when he went into the kitchen to find out what was in some of the food, “they threw him out of there.”

Hazan added that most of his complaints are not against the commanders, but rather against the base physician. “This will not go away, they took my beloved child,” he said. Hazan noted that after observing the one-week shivah mourning period for his son, he will contact the relevant parties to make sure there is no cover-up. “As much as I love the army, silence is not an option,” the father said. “The corps commander assured me explicitly that it will not be ignored and that an investigation will be conducted. I want justice to be done with whoever is at fault.”

In a statement, the IDF confirmed Hazan’s death and that the Military Police had begun an investigation: “Maj. Gen. Yaakov Barak, the head of the technological and logistics directorate, decided to establish a commission of inquiry headed by a colonel to investigate the incident. The IDF extends its condolences to the family and will continue to support it.”

Hazan was due to be buried Sunday afternoon in the Eilat military cemetery.

Almog Ben Zikri contributed to this report.