After years of appeals and back-and-forth with bureaucrats, Saidian self-immolated on the steps of the Ministry as an act of protest.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
An IDF veteran suffering from severe PTSD who set himself on fire after years of bureaucratic struggles with the Defense Ministry is now conscious after being comatose for 5 months, his family told Hebrew language media.
Itzik Saidian, 26, was a vocal critic of the Defense Ministry’s Rehabilitation division, citing its refusal to recognize him as being a disabled veteran.
After years of appeals and back-and-forth with bureaucrats, Saidian self-immolated on the steps of the Ministry in Petach Tikvah in April as an act of protest.
He was left critically wounded by the event and had been in a coma for nearly half a year.
“We asked him if he understood why he was here and he shook his head,” Saidian’s brother told N12.
“We are crying with excitement, we have been waiting for this for a long time.”
While Saidian still cannot speak, his family said, he is aware of his surroundings and able to answer questions for the first time.
Attorney Aviad Lenchner, who represents Saidian, said in a statement that “the improvement is a source of joy not only because an entire country has prayed for his recovery, but also because it allows the country to right the terrible injustice done to him.
“I wish Itzik will be the last PTSD sufferer who needs to shock an entire country in order to get the rights he deserves.”
Saidian, who fought in the Golani Brigade during Operation Tzuk Eitan, suffered from debilitating trauma and sought to receive benefits from the Defense Ministry due to his mental condition.
But bureaucrats from the Ministry found that Saidian’s condition did not prevent him from working, and ruled that he was not entitled to a full disability pension as some of his mental trauma stemmed from his childhood, not fully due to his military service.