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Israel News

Blood donation event honoring Itzik Saidian to save lives of 1,500

CM 28/04/2021

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Some 500 units of blood were donated during a special blood donation event held in honor of Itzik Saidian, former Golani soldier who lit himself on fire outside a Defense Ministry office in Petah Tikva about two weeks ago and is still in critical condition.

The event took place at the Sheba Medical Center on Wednesday and was organized in a joint effort carried out by Magen David Adom (MDA) and Sheba, where the IDF veteran is still hospitalized. Setting a personal example, Defense Minister Benny Gantz arrived to the Sheba Medical Center to visit Saidian’s family and donated blood as part of the special event.

A public plea was made to anyone with blood type O to come and make a donation, due to a significant shortage of that blood type in Israel, according to Ynet.  

The donated blood will help save the lives of about 1,500 injured soldiers and patients, the reports noted. 

Last week, the Defense Ministry rolled out a new plan to reform the way the state cares for IDF veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD.

The reform came after Saidian, whose requests for assistance had repeatedly been rejected, lit himself on fire just days before Remembrance Day earlier this month. 

Saidian’s case drew public uproar, leading to the unusual incident of protesters breaking in to the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation department in Petah Tikva. Demonstrators were stopped after reaching the courtyard and just before managing to enter the building, Israeli reports noted. 
Protests broke out after Saidian had set himself on fire, but surrounded greater issues that disabled IDF veterans and their caregivers have had with government support for years.  According to Israeli media reports, around half of all requests submitted by IDF veterans seeking recognition as being disabled were rejected between 2015 and 2019. 

The latest plan announced by the Defense Ministry seeks to ease the bureaucratic difficulties veterans encounter when seeking assistance or recognition. Gantz has said that the plan’s “leading value” would be to stop doubting every soldier who comes asking for assistance.
But it seems like it will take some time until any change is felt by those who, besides suffering the everyday challenges of PTSD, are also forced to deal with a rigid bureaucratic system that is often blind to their pleas.  

On Wednesday, N12 reported that a former IDF combat engineering soldier suffering from PTSD was recently notified by the Defense Ministry that he would not be eligible for any support because he did not provide sufficient evidence of partaking in Operation Protective Edge, the same operation that led to Saidian’s PTSD diagnosis. 
The 27-year-old former solder sued the Defense Ministry three and half years ago after suffering from PTSD ever since the operation, according to N12.  
“Further factual clarification is required because there was no sufficient evidence presented for your participation in any combat or rescue activity,” the letter sent to the former soldier by the Defense Ministry read. 
Meanwhile, the soldier’s direct commander during the operation has called the decision an outrage. “He fought from day one and until the very end … it’s infuriating,” he told N12. 

The Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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