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Hundreds of disabled IDF veterans protest by Knesset, Defense Ministry

CM 05/05/2021

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Hundreds of disabled IDF veterans protested in front of the Knesset and the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation Division in Petah Tikva on Wednesday, according to Israeli media.

During the protest at the Knesset, the veterans attempted to break in to the Knesset, according to initial reports. Knesset guards are working to prevent the protesters from entering.
The protesters proceeded to block a number of central roadways in Jerusalem, including the roads near the Chords Bridge by the entrance to the city.
Promised reforms for the rights of disabled veterans have been stalled as the Finance Ministry and Defense Ministry squabble over the budget needed for the reforms.
Labor MK Omar Bar-Lev told the protestors that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had stated that he will try to find the NIS 3 million required in the coming weeks, adding that “if he doesn’t bring the money, you know what to do – go out to the streets,” according to Walla! news.
In Petah Tikva, police received a report that a protestor barricaded himself with a gas canister and threatened to harm himself. Police officers and Magen David Adom paramedics were called to the scene and found that the canisters in question had water, not gas.
The Defense Ministry stated in response that a few dozen protesters were protesting in front of the Rehabilitation Division’s office in Petah Tikva and that “contrary to publications in some media, no barricade event is known of at the site.”

Firefighters who arrived at the scene in Petah Tikva had stones thrown at them by protesters and were ordered to distance themselves from the event, according to Maariv, The Jerusalem Post‘s sister publication.
The reform, called “One Soul” is designed to improve the treatment and rehabilitation of disabled IDF veterans.
Among other changes, the plan calls for an additional NIS 350 million to be allocated to the Defense Ministry in order to treat and support disabled IDF veterans and their families with an emphasis on those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The plan also calls for an additional 60 staff members and 18 soldiers and NCOs to be added to the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation center, mainly in the welfare and rehabilitation fields in order to improve services in this field.
The plan also includes the foundation of a national council for PTSD research and recommends best practices for treatment in cooperation with the Health Ministry.
Following the incident in April in which IDF veteran Itzik Saidian set himself on fire in front of the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation division, Defense Minister Benny Gantz reviewed Israel’s rehabilitation services.
The tragedy resulted in public outcry and protests, with activists and families of soldiers demanding reforms and better support in the state’s rehabilitation facilities for disabled IDF veterans.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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