Israelis react with outpouring of support for traumatized IDF soldier who set himself on fire

Family thankful as the public responds to help the former soldier who remains in critical condition, promising they’ll continue his fight to help those with PTSD.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The family of a former IDF soldier who set himself on fire to protest poor care of army veterans who suffer from shellshock said Wednesday they will continue his fight to get proper health care for all traumatized soldiers, Channel 12 reported.

About 500 units of blood were collected at a special clinic at Sheba Hospital on behalf of Itzik Saidyan, 26, who remains in critical condition after torching himself two weeks ago in front of a Defense Ministry office in Petach Tikvah. Officials say the blood rations collected would help save the lives of about 1,500 sick and injured.

“So many people came from all over the country. I have no words to thank them for all the support we are receiving,” Saidyan’s sister Leah told Channel 12 from the hospital where surgeons had given her brother skin grafts.

“The surgery today was a success, thank God, and in a few days we will know if the skin is absorbed into the body, and then we will see if we can move on,” she said, adding that her brother’s life was still in danger.

“I’m sure the support and encouragement will help Itzik wake up,” she said. Her brother has been in an induced coma since the incident, having suffered severe burns to his entire body.

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Saidyan took his drastic step in frustration when the ministry’s Rehabilitation Division refused to raise his disability level. He was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of experiences fighting Hamas in 2014.

On Tuesday, the family received the conclusions of the investigation into the rehabilitation office’s behavior toward Saidyan, which apparently revealed shortcomings in his treatment.

“We had a lot to say about these conclusions,” Leah said. “We got the apology, but there is a lot to change.”

“We will not give up, we will meet all the requirements so that all those suffering post-trauma in the country can live their lives with dignity and receive what they deserve, without struggle,” she said, adding that the person in charge of her brother’s case would not continue in his position in the Ministry of Defense’s Rehabilitation Division.

“My brother sacrificed his body and it really hurts us and it’s unfortunate that it’s the price he paid, but we will continue his fight,” she said.